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Kevin Shattenkirk’s Boyhood Dream Ends in Buy-Out

Kevin Shattenkirk dreamed that one day he would play for the New York Rangers as a kid growing up in New Rochelle, New York. Sadly, Shattenkirk’s dream has been cut short. The Rangers front office decided the best thing they could do to get under the National Hockey League (NHL) Salary-Cap of $81.5 million that they exceeded by $4.1 mil, was to buy-out the last two years of the four-year $26 million contract Kevin Shattenkirk signed in 2017.

Most importantly, General Manager Jeff Gorton had to skim off some salary froth this offseason and buying out Shattenkirk was made more necessary by the signing of free agents Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba to long-term deals.

Shattenkirk tore his meniscus two years ago, which hurt his game significantly. Back in 2015, Shattenkirk was an All-Star for the St. Louis Blues and competed in the fastest-skater competition.

Nevertheless, Shattenkirk was brought to the Rangers to excel playing on the man-advantage. In 2017-18, Shattenkirk scored 13 points on the power-play in 46 games. In 73 games last season, Shattenkirk only scored seven points on the man-advantage.

Also, the Rangers traded for right-handed defenseman Adam Fox. Larry Brooks of The New York Post said that Shattenkirk “would lose his power-play time to Trouba and Fox.” Fox has only proven he can play in college so it is a stretch for Brooks to say he is going to play on next year’s Rangers power-play.

Following Shattenkirk’s buy-out, the Rangers have one defenseman over 30 years-old;  Alternate captain Marc Staal. During training camp, head coach David Quinn will be evaluating whether Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, and Yegor Rykov can earn a roster spot. The two youngest defensemen the Rangers have on their roster are 20-year-old Libor Hajek and 21-year-old Adam Fox. While Hajek has only played seven NHL games, Larry Brooks has said he can start on the Rangers’ third defensive-pairing with Fox.

In a press release, Rangers Team President John Davidson reflected what the Rangers’ organization thinks about Kevin Shattenkirk. “Today’s decision was a very difficult one,” Davidson said, “Kevin is a great person and teammate and he was extremely proud to be a New York Ranger. We wish him and his family the best going forward.”

Shattenkirk is still a capable NHL defenseman, who should find a spot on a NHL team. The Philadelphia Flyers could come knocking at his door. That is where his former teammate Kevin Hayes just signed a seven-year, $50 million deal and former coach Alain Vigneault is now the head coach.

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