The New York Rangers and Kevin Shattenkirk: An Unfortunate Ending

July 1, 2017. I get the notification on my phone that the Rangers have agreed to terms with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on a four year deal. “WHAT A STEAL!” I shouted and nearly caused my wife to veer off the road. Then came the offseason mental lineups one tends to do when a deal like this is announced. “So the top pair will be Shattenkirk-McDonagh, 2nd pair Brady Skjei-DeAngelo, 3rd Staal-Smith”. Oh how naive we all were.  Fast forward to the start of the 2017-2018 season, we got less than a dozen periods of Shattenkirk-McDonagh as a pair (Thanks AV). The news also comes out that Shattenkirk requires surgery for a torn meniscus he suffered in camp and his season is done.  The rest is history: the letter goes out, trades occur, Vigneault is fired, and the rebuild begins.

We now get to the part of this saga in 2018 where an old friend enters the mix for Shattenkirk, David Quinn. Despite extreme highs from the Vigneault firing and the hope of a rookie head coach to do the best with what he had, it sadly got worse. Quinn ultimately does not use Shattenkirk in the role he was signed to be: a puck moving, power play QB defenseman. Instead, Shattenkirk found himself in the “Quinn bin” some nights while his ice time was given to the likes of Neal Pionk, Tony DeAngelo, and Marc Staal. Shattenkirk himself saw 1173:16 of TOI all season long via NaturalStatTrick while Neal Pionk, Marc Staal, and Brady Skjei were the top 3 of total TOI for all Rangers defensemen. That is just brutal deployment.


Chart from NaturalStatTrick

A spiraling 24 months come to an end August 1, Shattenkirk is bought out. An otherwise perfect offseason acquiring elite talent and elite prospects via trades, the draft, and free agency takes a step back. Rangers brass decides to save for the immediate future rather than the longevity of who is actually better. It’s gonna be tough to watch Shattenkirk play on a one-year “show me” deal somewhere and put up 50 points. Here is hoping with the cap space created, DeAngelo and Lemieux will be signed and soon. Is it October yet?


  Chart courtesy of Shayna Goldman with data from CapFriendly



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  • I won’t lie but I’m already sick and tired of the Shattenkirk saga/buyout … let’s move on and forward. Learn from the lesson — and I think they have, no more big UFA signings of older/not stellar players. We have depth, we have young studs … this should be the last time for quite a while that we go out and get older B rated UFA players.

      • We always agreed about Shattenkirk, I was just a bit softer and more diplomatic about it. lol They gambled that overall the team was still the same quality team from the previous 5 seasons and Shattenkirk could provide the necessary additional pop offensively — reminds me of when they let go of Stralman and signed Boyle (another failure). At best Shattenkirk was going to be a somewhat unnecessary PP specialist for the right side and a Top 4 d’man on his best days … but yeah he was never going to be a Top pairing guy, clearly. His best days were behind him.

        I do think the injury however produced the worst case scenario and in part that falls on the Rangers’ medical and coaching staff, they should have shut him down much earlier in the first year and not let him play half a season on that knee — if they had done that and not gotten Trouba and Fox he might have survived the full term of his contract, albeit somewhat poorly. Luckily we did get Fox and Trouba, our right side now could end up being one of the best in the League. Yay team. 😉

  • Just because the guy is a Ranger fan and wanted to play for the NYR, we can’t ignore how bad he played for the last 2 years and NYR paid a fortune for an incompetent player. This was another Glen Sather’s beauty.

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