Rangers buyout of Shattenkirk changes things


Nobody knew when the buyout period started. Apparently, it’s not until after salary arbitration concludes.

That doesn’t matter now. The Rangers have decided to buyout Kevin Shattenkirk. Hot tip from New York Post beat writer Brett Cyrgalis.

He tweeted it out over an hour ago. We knew that it was a possibility. I wasn’t in favor of doing it. Especially given the dead cap space the Rangers will have moving forward. However, his cap hit of $6.65 million was pricey considering how much he struggled his first two years coming home.

For the upcoming ’19-20 season, the Rangers retain $1.48 million in salary. That becomes over six million for ’20-21 before going back to $1.48 million for ’21-22 and ’22-23. The club still has Dan Girardi on the books with $3.61 million of retained salary this season. It’s $1.11 million the next three seasons.

By buying out Shattenkirk, the Rangers basically are stuck in a dicey situation. Unable to move Vladislav Namestnikov due to his $4 million price tag, it looks like it’s a foregone conclusion that key power forward Chris Kreider could be dealt. His $4.625 million AAV in the final year is a bargain for a capable player, who’ll attract plenty of suitors next summer. Losing him would really hurt. But that’s the cost of doing business the way the Blueshirts have.

If Kreider goes, GM Jeff Gorton should be able to get a good return for one of his most valuable players. But interested teams know it’ll be as a one year rental with no guarantee he’ll sign an extension. I still believe the Avalanche would have interest if they can fit him in. They just went long-term with young defenseman Samuel Girard, investing an average of $5 million over seven years. That doesn’t kick in until 2020-21. They still must sign key restricted free agent Mikko Rantanen. With still over $16 million in cap space, Colorado could be a possible destination for Kreider.

Here’s the thing. With Shattenkirk bought out, Gorton only has to re-sign Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux. It shouldn’t put them that far over the $81.5 million upper limit. Maybe they can get creative by designating Brendan Smith to Hartford and finding just enough wiggle room to keep Kreider for now.

As far as how I feel, I didn’t want to see Shattenkirk go. I thought the cap hit and dead salary was too much. Plus I would’ve preferred to keep the veteran as insurance. They don’t know how ready Adam Fox is. I guess they figure it’s worth it because it was very likely that Shattenkirk wouldn’t have much of a role due to the Fox addition and big acquisition of Jacob Trouba. Especially if they are keeping DeAngelo after he showed promise in ’18-19 despite some off ice issues that coach David Quinn addressed. Hopefully, he keeps his head screwed on straight.

With K’Andre Miller a year away with prospects Libor Hajek, Ryan Lindgren and Yegor Rykov all competing for roster spots in training camp, the future is bright for New York’s blueline. Nils Lundkvist will need more time. He sustained a lower body injury a few days ago in a game for Sweden in the World Junior Showcase. Hopefully, it’s not serious.

On what’s been a strange day due to the very perplexing baseball trade deadline coming and going with the Yankees predictably doing nothing while the Astros landed Zack Greinke, I’m a little bit frustrated. Oh well. If my baseball team can’t get it done this October, hockey’s around the corner.

Things are looking up for the Devils after their smart move trading for Nikita Gusev. His skill set looks eerily similar to our $11.6 million star Artemi Panarin. If the $4.5 million AAV GM Ray Shero risked over two years is worth it, it’s the Devils who had the best offseason.

There are sure to be many arguments and heated debates in bars and at the games with the Hudson Rivalry renewed. Between who’s better between Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, along with Trouba vs PK Subban, and now Panarin vs Gusev, both the Devils and Rangers are going to be interesting. They’ve both improved while the Islanders haven’t.

To be honest, the Metro Division should be unpredictable and very exciting. I’ll have more on that in the days to come as we hit August. Only a month to go!

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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