The more the offseason progresses, the more we hear about the Rangers and their desire to move on from Kevin Shattenkirk. Larry Brooks went as far as saying the Blueshirts would consider buying him out, something I consider to be asinine. Even with that contract, there has to be value there. For what it’s worth, here’s the buyout cost:
- 2019-2020: $1.483m cap hit
- 2020-2021: $6.083m cap hit
- 2021-2022: $1.433m cap hit
- 2022-2023: $1.433m cap hit
That 2020-2021 cap hit is because his salary that year is all in bonuses, a lockout proof year in his deal, the last year of his deal. In terms of cap space, the Rangers would save $5 million this season and $500k next season. There is no legitimate reason to buy him out.
The most likely situation is a 50% retained trade, which means the receiving team gets Shattenkirk at two years and $3.3 million. Certainly more manageable than $6.6 million. Since any acquiring team is likely both competing and in need of cap space, it makes for the potential to add a 40-50 point defenseman — when used properly — who improves the powerplay and drives offense. There’s significant value there.
How significant is the question, though. It’s a safe assumption that Shattenkirk, who has a 10 team no trade list (and full no-move protection against the expansion draft and waivers), will be dealt at the draft. Finding comparable trades is a little difficult.
The Erik Karlsson trade doesn’t match up, and neither does the Dougie Hamilton trade. Aside from those two, there aren’t many non-trade deadline deals involving defensemen comparable to Shattenkirk. It’s actually a barren wasteland, since most trades involving any player with salary are either cap dump trades, which the Rangers don’t need to do, or trades to Vegas.
Let’s be a little creative here and throw out a hypothetical, since it’s crazy season. And remember, my trade proposal sucks. Let’s include Shattenkirk in the deal for Jacob Trouba. Shattenkirk at 50% retained, Vesey, and Howden for Trouba and Kulikov, with the Rangers buying out Kulikov. That’s a lot of salary space for Winnipeg for Laine/Connor, plus role players to fill out the roster and a young center with potential. The Rangers get their 25 year old 1RD for what amounts to minimal cost to their rebuild.
I’ll throw one more hypothetical at you, involving our old friends in Tampa. If they miss out on Erik Karlsson, could they look at a retained Shattenkirk as a decent secondary option? Shattenkirk at 50% for Ryan Callahan (cap dump, Rangers can buy him out if need be), a draft pick, and their #3 prospect Boris Katchouk? Gives them a cheap RD to slide in behind Hedman without blocking Cal Foote’s path or giving up Foote, Volkov, or Cirelli. The Rangers get another solid prospect.
Being creative can be fun, right?