The biggest secret in hockey is officially out as Kevin Shattenkirk and the New York Rangers have mutually agreed to 4-year, $26.6 million-dollar contract according to Larry Brooks.
Rangers could not say no to Shattenkirk, who is in at four years at $6.65M per…a total of $26.6M, substantially less than other offers.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) July 1, 2017
The New Rochelle native is coming home, and it could not come at a better because the Blueshirts needed a top-flight defender on the right side. He also comes in at a great contract number of $6.65 million per year.
Shattenkirk comes in at Cane's projected salary and on a great term-length. This is a big boost for NYR's blue line. pic.twitter.com/KUAd2kafas
— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) July 1, 2017
Shattenkirk also left money on the table to join the Rangers, and he did so because he wanted to be part of his hometown team.
Shattenkirk left years and big &$& on the table from 2-3 other teams. Went with his heart
— Billy Jaffe (@BJaffe) July 1, 2017
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) July 1, 2017
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) July 1, 2017
Critics have cited Shattenkirk as being a heavy offensive player and a lean defender but the record shows that he is a bona fide top pair defender. Here is how he stacks up against the archetype of No. 1 defender via Domenic Galamini’s H.E.R.O. charts, coupled with his overall stats.
In addition to Shattenkirk’s advanced metrics, what stands out for Shattenkirk is 298 overall points in 490 games, which equates to 0.60 a game, or 49 points a season. The Rangers certainly will benefit from having some extra firepower on the blue line, and it will replace the void created when Keith Yandle signed with the Florida Panthers.
The other thing that stands out is Shattenkirk’s proficiency on the power play, and he just happens to be the second best defender in total points over the last five seasons, trailing all-world defender Erik Karlsson by five points in three fewer games played.
During the same span, the Rangers’ aggregate power play efficiency is 18 percent which is 19th overall in the NHL span. It is clear that he is going to help the Rangers mightily in that area. With Shattenkirk in the fold, look for the Rangers to use a 4-1 formation with him as the lone defenseman and four forwards up front.
The addition of Shattenkirk will bump Ryan McDonagh from the power play, but that isn’t the worst thing in the world. McDonagh is an excellent two-way defender who has shown he knows what to do offensively with the puck, but he’s better served using his minutes at even strength and on the penalty kill. If the Rangers decided to use a 4-1 setup on the second unit, Brady Skjei would be perfect in that spot.
The Blueshirts’ blueline is leaps and bounds ahead of last year’s crop, and here’s an idea of what the pairings could look like on opening night.
- Ryan McDonagh—Kevin Shattenkirk
- Brady Skjei—Brendan Smith
- Marc Staal—Anthony DeAngelo
- Extra: Nick Holden
The above pairings do not factor in youngsters such as Neal Pionk or Alexei Bereglazov, two young defenders who were slated to be in the picture before the Shattenkirk signing. It would make a ton of sense for the Rangers to move Holden and his $1.65 cap hit after having a career 34-point year at age 30. Ultimately it would be more prudent to move Staal, but there isn’t as much of a market for him due to his cap hit of $5.7 million for the next four years.
If it doesn’t work out the Rangers can always assign Pionk to the Hartford Wolf Pack, but things get dicey with Bereglazov. His contract includes a European assignment clause which means he can return to the KHL in the event he doesn’t make the Rangers roster. The Rangers don’t want this to happen considering they went out of their way to bring him over to North America, so odds are they will work something out.
With all of that said, the Rangers got their man and are a lot better today than they were yesterday, and their attention will turn to re-signing Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast.