It didn’t take long for Kevin Shattenkirk to wind up with another team. Is it really a surprise that the former Ranger landed in Tampa with the Lightning? It’s where most wind up.
Rangers South has been home to Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, J.T. Miller, Anton Stralman and is still where Ryan McDonagh plays. With the prior four gone, it was time for the Lightning to refill their allotment. So, they signed the recently bought out Shattenkirk for a year at $1.75 million. A low risk move for the veteran right defenseman, who can slide in on the third pair without any pressure.
He wasn’t happy about being bought out. That’s understandable. But the prideful 30-year old New Rochelle native didn’t blame the Rangers for how he wound up the odd man out off his favorite team. He took responsibility.
He wasn’t pleased with his performance in a short lived two years on Broadway. Injuries didn’t help. After playing in only 46 games in ’17-18 with five goals and 18 assists, Shattenkirk went 2-26-28 over 73 contests in ’18-19. He never found his footing after signing a big four-year contract worth an average cap hit of $6.65 million. The offensive defenseman didn’t produce the way the club envisioned. He struggled defensively going a combined minus-29 over two seasons.
When he was bought out last week, it was due to how much the Blueshirts would save for the upcoming season. They save over five million in ’19-20. That outweighs the six million of dead space for ’20-21. Combined with Girardi and Ryan Spooner, that’s over six million of retained salary for this season.
Citing the rebuild in an interview on The Athletic with Tampa reporter Joe Smith, Shattenkirk admitted that it wasn’t the best fit. Things sure changed. When he arrived, McDonagh was his teammate along with Miller, Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello. But ’17-18 was so bad that the organization committed to a rebuild.
The rest is history. Now, Shattenkirk joins one of the league’s best teams in hopes of winning a Stanley Cup. The Lightning still have yet to re-sign Brayden Point. Once they do, they’ll again be considered the favorites. With a talented nucleus that features Hart winner Nikita Kucherov, Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevskiy, Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, McDonagh and Tyler Johnson, the Bolts will look to put last Spring’s bitter first round disappointment behind them.
We’ll see how Shattenkirk does in his new home. It should be a better fit.