Kevin Shattenkirk: Is it time for the Rangers to move on?
With two injuries over the past two seasons, and an overall decline in defensive play, is it time to move on from Kevin Shattenkirk?
In terms of scoring production, he has one goal and eight assists through 30 games this season. He is on pace for three goals and 22 assists this season, which is two points more than last season. Only difference is, that Shattenkirk (if he stays healthy throughout) will play 75 games this season as apposed to 46, a year ago.
Before being hit and injured by former Rangers forward J.T. Miller on Dec.10, Shattenkirk was benched in the third period of the previous game by head coach David Quinn.
He missed a total of seven games due to the shoulder injury. It was a sentimental return for him against his former team, the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 30. He saw a little over 16 minutes of ice time, and tallied an assist.
This season has shown a lot of criticism of Shattenkirk, and rightfully so. His performance on defense has slipped and he hasn’t been the same player of old. You have to wonder, is it worth having him stay in New York after the Feb. 25 trade deadline?
Are his best days behind him?
Obviously, the injuries have taken a toll on him. The knee injury last season that ailed him up until he was shut down, and who knows how this shoulder injury feels, will have a large impact on his future. Shattenkirk has shown versatility and durability in the past, but that may be behind him.
There are plenty of teams that could benefit from his playstyle, a puck-moving defenseman that can quarterback a powerplay with ease.
The New York Rangers however, at least for the time being cannot.
What happens if Shattenkirk is traded?
The system shows a number of up-and-comers that can fill the void of Shattenkirk’s offensive presence after being moved. Tony DeAngelo and Neal Pionk have shown at the highest level of professional hockey that they have can move the puck and make plays. K’Andre Miller, when ready to make the jump from NCAA hockey at Wisconsin to pro hockey, can be a player that draws attention to his stick whenever he is on the ice.
His $6.65 Million AAV will go away as well. This season is the second of his four-year deal with the Rangers, and with that comes a modified no-trade-clause. Shattenkirk has relatively played most of this season on the third line pairing, and is only getting an average on-ice time of 18:19, the lowest of his career.
Who could take that salary is up in the air but there are plenty of teams in need of Shattenkirk’s talents that can foot the bill. Chicago and Boston come to mind, as both teams have enough cash and space for him. What the Rangers can get in return is the real question. The smart bet would be to continue the youth movement and rely on the younger players, but an established veteran defenseman can also be beneficial in this situation as well.
What could have been?
The New York Rangers were hoping for a 50-point defenseman that could change a game with his stick. It could have very well been that, without injury. But shoulda, coulda, woulda isn’t gonna help now.
Moving on from Kevin Shattenkirk is possible and the trade deadline is coming fast.