NEW YORK -- Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk knew of all the trade buzz surrounding him and thought he had heard about all the different teams that were after him. He was wrong.
"Washington really came out of nowhere in my mind," Shattenkirk said. "It was a team that I didn't really have in my head."
Now he has the Washington Capitals in his heart, at least for the next few months until he can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Shattenkirk arrived in New York on Tuesday less than 24 hours after being traded to the Capitals from the St. Louis Blues.
READ: Behind the numbers: Shattenkirk to Capitals
He spoke to the media for the first time in front of a Capitals' backdrop two hours before playing in his first game with Washington against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, which is approximately 20 miles from where he grew up in New Rochelle, New York.
The Capitals, who lead the NHL with 89 points, got Shattenkirk with the hope that he's the final piece of a Stanley Cup championship puzzle, one Washington has never been able to put together. The Capitals haven't even advanced past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 1998, when they made their only trip to the Stanley Cup Final and were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Video: Hradek on impact of Shattenkirk on the Caps lineup
Shattenkirk, who had 42 points (11 goals, 31 assists) in 61 games with the Blues this season, is trying to downplay what his arrival means for the Capitals and the message that it clearly sends from management and ownership to the players.
"A few years ago we had the same situation in St. Louis when goalie Ryan Miller came and I know it can be a tough thing to deal with," Shattenkirk said.
The Blues acquired Miller from the Buffalo Sabres six days before the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline thinking he was going to lead them to the Stanley Cup. They were eliminated in the Western Conference First Round by the Chicago Blackhawks and Miller later signed with the Vancouver Canucks.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on myself," Shattenkirk said. "I want to make sure I'm just doing what I do best and what my strengths are in my game. That's why they brought me in. They didn't bring me in to save anything. They're the best team in the NHL right now and I just have to make sure I come in and do what I do best."
Like putting up points on the power play, which is a staple of Shattenkirk's game and a big reason for the Capitals' sustained success.
Washington is sixth in the NHL on the power play this season at 21.8 percent. Shattenkirk, who had 20 points on the power play with the Blues, is excited about the idea of setting up Alex Ovechkin for his one-timer.