The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free-agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
Shattenkirk was recently bought out by the New York Rangers after year two of his four-year, $26.6 million deal. The right-handed defender didn’t live up to expectations in the Big Apple, collecting just seven goals and 44 assists for 51 points in 119 games.
Originally drafted 14th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2007, Shattenkirk played 46 games in Denver before being traded to the St. Louis Blues. With the Blues, Shattenkirk became one of the best defenders in the league.
He stayed with the Blues for seven seasons, collecting 59 goals, 199 assists and 258 points in 425 games. In 2016-17, he was traded to the Washington Capitals to finish out the season before stepping into free agency for the first time. With the Capitals, he scored two goals and 14 points in 19 games.
This is when he signed on with the Rangers, but he’s never been able to replicate the production that he had with the Blues. In his first six full NHL seasons, he crossed 40 points every time, hitting 56 in the season split between the Capitals and Blues. In the two seasons following with the Rangers, he hasn’t hit 30.
Despite his lower production, the 30-year-old defender still has a lot of hockey in him. He’ll be a contributor on the power play, whether it’s helping Hedman on the first unit or running the second. Plus, passing the puck up to players like Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov is a big upgrade from when he’s used to.
Over his career, Shattenkirk has 75 goals, 274 assists and 349 points in 609 games.
Lightning Defense Taking Shape
This offseason, the Lightning lost defender Anton Stralman to free agency. A significant piece in their own end, the team will likely look to Shattenkirk to fill that void.
He’ll likely end up on the top-paring with superstar Victor Hedman. There was some thought that young defenseman Mikhail Sergachev could also find himself in that position, but if the Lightning can keep him lower in the lineup they should.
With a top-four of Hedman, Shattenkirk, Ryan McDonagh and Braydon Coburn, the Lightning are looking ready on defence for another season.
Re-Signing Point Leaves Lightning with Work to Do
According to CapFriendly, the Lighting now have just under $9.4 million in cap space with restricted free agents Braydon Point and Adam Erne left to be re-signed. Getting Point under contract needs to be a priority for general manager Julien BrisBois and the Lightning.
Point is coming off of an entry-level contract that saw him collect 91 goals, 107 assists and 198 points over the past three seasons, including a 41-goal, 92-point 2018-19 campaign.
The centreman is due for a large raise and will likely take up most, if not all, of the remaining cap space for the team. The 24-year-old Erne also needs a contract as a restricted free agent, but the problem is that the Lightning have just one contract spot left for the organization. It seems the Lighting aren’t done making moves just yet
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.