When Kevin Shattenkirk signed a contract with his hometown New York Rangers, undoubtedly all parties involved hoped for a different outcome.
The defenceman was coming off a career-high season in 2016-17, tallying 56 points between the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals. That summer as a free agent, Shattenkirk signed a four-year, $26.6-million deal with the Rangers.
Things were trending upwards.
Shattenkirk’s debut season with the Rangers in 2017-2018 was shortened due to a torn meniscus, sidelining him for half the season. In the 46 games he played, he contributed five goals and 23 points. Next year, his first healthy season with the club, Shattenkirk recorded two goals and 28 points in 73 games.
After two seasons in the Big Apple, Shattenkirk’s contract was bought out early last week to his own surprise and frustration.
Shattenkirk says he was shocked about being bought out by Rangers: "I was pretty pissed off about it."— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 5, 2019
The Rangers were notably up against the salary cap with the acquisitions of Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba this offseason, a duo that will take up almost 25 percent of their cap space. Buying out Shattenkirk’s contract saved New York more than $5 million this season alone.
On Monday, the 30-year-old signed a one-year, $1.75-million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning and proceeded to reflect on his shorter-than-expected time in New York.
Shattenkirk: "I think I have a huge chip on my shoulder right now. It didn’t work out with injuries and performance and with the way the direction of the team, the way that kind of deteriorated from when I signed on July 1 to now."— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 5, 2019
Shattenkirk: "I think I’m pissed off at myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to play at home better and give them a reason to make it a no-brainer that this wouldn’t be their decision."— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 5, 2019
Adds he's no fan of Rangers going into rebuild.
Shattenkirk on his time with the Rangers: "It’s definitely not a success story.”— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 5, 2019
For a veteran player who surpassed the 40-point mark five times in his career, it’s understandable why Shattenkirk would feel slighted by the outcome. Nonetheless, Shattenkirk, who said he considered signing with six or seven teams, will now have a “huge chip” on his shoulder heading down to Tampa Bay with an opportunity to prove himself.
Tampa Bay also continues a habit of adding former Rangers to their roster. Last season alone, Tampa Bay housed J.T. Miller, Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan, Anton Stralman and Dan Girardi.
Regardless of his struggles the past two seasons, Shattenkirk holds the No. 2 ranking for goals and points by a defenceman selected in the 2007 NHL Draft. He’s hoping a change of scenery could be all it takes to spark that production once again.
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