The New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $26.6 million with unrestricted free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The deal carries a cap hit of $6.65 million annually and was first reported by Frank Seravalli of TSN with Bob McKenzie confirming the salary figures. Arguably the biggest name on the market heading into free agency, Shattenkirk’s preferred landing spot always appeared to be his home state of New York from the very beginning. Opting to take a discount on years signed to play with the Rangers, Shattenkirk will now join a team in New York that is hungry to take the next step and win a Stanley Cup Championship for the first time since 1994.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2017
One of the top offensive defensemen in the entire NHL, Shattenkirk has scored an impressive 68 goals and 298 points in 490 NHL games from the blueline since debuting in 2010-11 with the Colorado Avalanche. Shattenkirk has played with the Blues since St. Louis acquired him and forward Chris Stewart in a trade from the Avalanche in a deal that saw Erik Johnson, the first overall pick from the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, get sent back to the Avalanche in return. In his time with the Blues, Shattenkirk scored 59 goals and 258 points in 425 games and proved to be a lethal force from the blueline.
While with the Blues, Shattenkirk put up a minimum of 40 points in every season that he played with the Blues, not including the lockout-shortened season when he scored five goals and 23 points in 48 games. Arguably his best season came during the 2016-17 season as he scored 13 goals and 56 points in 80 games split between the Blues and Washington Capitals, though he also could have crushed his career-best totals in the 2014-15 season when he scored eight goals and 44 points in just 56 games – a season that saw him limited due to injury.
Trade to the Capitals
The Blues have consistently been one of the best teams in the NHL, but have failed to take the next step and push for a Stanley Cup. As such, the Blues were at a crossroads at the 2017 trade deadline. The team could either keep Shattenkirk for their own playoff push and hope to extend him in the offseason, or they could trade him for assets and head into the playoffs down a blueliner. The Blues opted to go the latter route, sending Shattenkirk to the Capitals at the deadline and recouping assets in the process.
While with the Capitals, Shattenkirk performed as well offensively as he did in St. Louis. With two goals and 14 points in 19 regular season games to close out the year, Shattenkirk looked like a natural fit on a high-powered Capitals’ team. The playoffs rolled around, however, and Shattenkirk was exposed to national exposure against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins. With all eyes watching, the Blues defender scored one goal and six points in 13 games but often looked sloppy in his own zone.
Heading into free agency, however, Shattenkirk’s prior success as an offensive defender earned him attention from teams around the league. Leaving money and years on the table to sign with the Rangers, it’s clear that Shattenkirk’s top priorities were to play for his hometown team – a team that is also a legitimate Stanley Cup contender year in and year out.