In a matter of eight short days during the summer of 2017, the New York Rangers acquired the services of two right-handed offensive defensemen. One was a touted commodity on the free agent market, Kevin Shattenkirk. The other was a talented prospect that had trouble finding his game, Tony DeAngelo.
Fast forward to the present day, and Kevin Shattenkirk simply has not been worth the $6.6 million ticket he signed in July of 2017. Having said that, a veteran offensive defenseman is an incredible commodity to have, especially if a team is looking to go on a run to the Stanley Cup.
Conversely, DeAngelo has needed some seasoning and tough love; but it seems as if he is starting to find his game. A major problem with Tony DeAngelo was his maturity and it may still take some ironing out, but it seems as though David Quinn has helped start the process.
DeAngelo has been snapping passes tape to tape, he’s skated around the ice almost effortlessly and has even shown grit by sticking up for his teammates.
At the time of the Shattenkirk signing, the team obviously was not anticipating a rebuild. Yet, this is where the organization stands, in a rebuilding period. The biggest issue with rebuilding sometimes isn’t just the prospects you are able to accrue and grow. It’s about the veterans helping the youngsters mature.
A player like Shattenkirk absolutely could be that role model for DeAngelo and show him the ropes, so to speak. On the other hand, it also causes a bit of a logjam on the blue line. The problem with Shattenkirk isn’t just his play, it’s the fact that he is not a top defenseman – which means he is either taking ice time away from DeAngelo, or is forcing DeAngelo to play first pair minutes. Either way, it actually does a disservice to the younger players that are coming up hoping to make a difference.
Passing of the Torch
Kevin Shattenkirk is a valuable player. Much like every player in the National Hockey League, he needs to play in his role to succeed. A team that is rebuilding and trying to gain assets while also striking at the right moment doesn’t fit Shatty’s role. Whether at the draft or deadline, Shattenkirk has become expendable.
Not because of the state the team, but rather the development and growth of a young defenseman. The return would most certainly be impressive, especially if he went to a team with backend depth like Tampa Bay. That, however, would be the cherry on top as it would allow DeAngelo to continue his strong play. Every player needs to be put in the right role to succeed, and DeAngelo has begun that process. Now is the time for the Rangers to cash in on his growth.