What is Kevin Shattenkirk’s future with the New York Rangers?

When the Rangers signed Kevin Shattenkirk to a team friendly four year deal before the beginning of last season, he was supposed to be the missing link in a team that desperately needed a blue line upgrade. Instead, Shatty played most of the year with a torn MCL while almost willing the Rangers to be competitive. He managed a line of 5-18-23 despite the injury and being shut down after 46 games. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t the season the fans, team, or player had hoped for.

The rebuild was announced, and Shattenkirk remained. He’s one of the few elite puck movers in the game, and with Tony DeAngelo and Neal Pionk set to make the club, his expertise in the area would certainly help. However this year has not gone as planned for Shattenkirk. He’s been off of PP1 for quite some time now, and his stat line is showing it. He’s at 1-7-8 in 27 games, a product of inconsistent play and lack of powerplay time.

Compounding issues is that Shattenkirk has been sneaky bad for a while now. His season-long numbers are being held up by a few very strong games. Overall, he’s been a sub-50% possession and xG player for over half the season. While most of this can be attributed to the team –they are all bad in these departments– there is player blame. It’s not a black-and-white analysis.

So with the Rangers seemingly heading towards the cellar, as expected, and Shattenkirk with two more years at $6.65 million remaining, the club and player are at a bit of a crossroads. The easy answer is trade him, retain salary, and get a decent haul for him. He’s still Kevin Shattenkirk, and he still commands a decent amount on the trade market (a 1st and a decent prospect is a starting point). However it’s not just that simple.

First things first: Shatty has a limited no-trade clause (10 teams he cannot be traded to). Let’s assume that eliminates ten of the other non-playoff teams, so while it complicates things, it’s not a huge deal. Worth noting he has a no-move clause, but that’s for demotions to the AHL and the expansion draft.

The next issue is salary. If the Rangers move him, they will probably need to eat some salary for the next two seasons. Add in the Ryan Spooner trade, and the Rangers are only able to eat salary on one more trade through this year and next. Context matters, and the right deal is the right deal, but it would put a limit on trade flexibility.

Then there’s the issue of roster construction. If the Rangers trade Shatty, then it’s safe to assume Fredrik Claesson gets more time, while Adam McQuaid fills in as the 7D. If the Rangers are able to move McQuaid and/or Brendan Smith (not bloody likely), then we are looking at John Gilmour and Rob O’Gara. Brady Skjei then gets thrust into an elder statesman role, something that may be a lot for the struggling defenseman to handle right now. Plus, there’s always the Marc Staal conundrum.

The concerns about filling out the blue line expand to next season. Will Ryan Lindgren or Libor Hajek be ready? They have a combined five assists this season with Hartford. Neither are going to be offensive dynamos, but you like to see dominating performances at the AHL before a call up, and they haven’t delivered that yet. It’s not a bad thing, as they are both just 25 games into their pro careers, but rushing them isn’t going to help either.

Players like Shattenkirk, Staal, and Smith are a necessity because they fill out the roster and allow the kids to grow. The four of them would probably like to win, but I’m assuming making millions of dollars helps that out a bit. Of the trio, Shatty is the most movable, but at what cost to development? Sometimes the right deal is not making a deal.

That said, I wonder if there’s a deal to be made here with Toronto. They are in win-now mode and need help on the right side of their blue line. Pure speculation at this point, but it makes you wonder.

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  • How much salary would have to be retained to make something work with Toronto, which is tight against the cap and with RFAs to sign next summer? And what assets do they have to give?

  • Trade Skjei instead in a package to get an impact NHL player. Shatty on a better Ranger team will increase his productivity.

    Unless Shatty wants out because he didn’t sign up for this.

    • Skjei trade value is not nearly as high as his contract. I’d be surprised if other GMs are half as high on his value as the rangers FO. Still think making him a top-40 paid defenseman is inexplicable.. Prove me wrong Gorton! 🙂

      • Maybe teams view Skjei as a “change of scenery” type of player. Or, would be just fine on a better team.

        Wishful thinking on my part.

  • Don’t worry about trading anyone, until another team dangles an interesting offer. Negotiate from a position of strength, not need. As it stands right now, we have a group of promising young players who need a core of smart, high character, experienced players to lean on for a while. Let’s not be Edmonton, always chasing the next bright shiny prospect, while ignoring the need for a TEAM.

    • That is a jump. Let’s not be Edmonton? You need offensive talent to stay in the cup chase we are a little short of that. Time to strike is now! The iron is hot!

  • Why would we ever have to retain salary!? Wasn’t there a bunch of teams wanting to sign him before we got this huge discount???

    • We got a huge discount in # of years. That’s not nothing, although it doesn’t help anyone on cap but this year. After all, whats the better contract to trade at the deadline, 2 more years of shatty or 4 more years!

  • I don’t believe they should be in any hurry to trade Shattenkirk. The rebuild is going to take at least two more years so his contract ends at a time when they will be either bringing in more youngsters or trading for a stud defenseman. I think he sticks around a while and gets more in tune with Quinn’s system.

    • Shatty should be moving at trade deadline a second rounder and a NHL Prospect Defensemen sound good. Or a first rounder and some throw ins.

  • Former Ranger back up HOFamers Raanta and Talbot not playing regularly due to injury (Raanta) and ineffective play (Talbot). So I guess trading them was not such a big deal.

    And when will all Ranger fans give Henrik his due? For what he has done for as long as he has done it for? And continues to do?

    • Hank has been durable and an elite goaltender his whole career. He should get his due from Ranger fans and most appreciate him appropriately.

      Regarding Raanta: I feel bad for the young man. He is an excellent goaltender and a good guy. I hope he can lick the injury bug.

    • Ha last couple of years they hated hank for “sucking” while team play around him was collapsing in a system that left him constantly exposed to the highest danger shots. Now they hate him for being too good to let the rangers bottom out and lose for Hughes. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    • Hank has been amazing. Thanks Hank time to do what is right and correct for this franchise and it’s LOYAL fans lift your no trade and help us solve our future! Thanks Hank time to move on!

  • Shattenpants does add to the skill level of the club. He is a puck mover and when the team is skating, he finds the open man. While not a shut down dman by any means, under coach Quinn I noticed his defensive play in has improved somewhat. I think the Rangers will keep him around for the time being unless another club makes them an offer they can’t refuse.

  • I don’t really get why folks continue to say he’s been sneaky bad. The obvious play with Shatt is feed him all the PP time, and let one of the best post-lockout PPQBs amass 50 to 60 points. Instead the FO is galaxy braining him into a trade where we get a third rounder. At 5v5 if Shatt is “sneaky bad,” then Pionk has been a nightmare.

    Quinn with Shatt kind of reminds me of when AV wasn’t putting Yandle out on the PP (also Yandle is averaging nearly a point a game this year).

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