After all the hype and speculation, it is finally a done deal. As of July 1st Kevin Shattenkirk is officially a New York Ranger. The Rangers came into this offseason with worries about their defense for the upcoming season. Their first major move was buying out veteran defenseman Dan Girardi. This opened the doors to eventually sign Shattenkirk on the first day of free agency.
WHAT A DAY #🍎
— Kevin Shattenkirk (@shattdeuces) July 2, 2017
Shattenkirk is a right handed defenseman standing at 6’0” and weighing in at 209 pounds. He is 28 years old and has been in the league since he was drafted 14th overall by the Avalanche in 2007.
Throughout his seven years in the NHL, Shattenkirk has proven to be a solid offensive defenseman. Up to this point in his career, he has averaged just below 43 points per season. That number would be even higher if it weren’t for the lockout shortened season of 2012-13. Last season Shattenkirk tallied 56 points which would put him second on the entire Rangers team behind only Mats Zuccarello, who had 59. Shattenkirk’s ability to put up points from the blue line will be much welcomed for the Rangers.
Career points per game, active @NHL defensemen:
1. Karlsson 0.82
2. Klingberg 0.67
T3. Letang & Subban 0.64
5. Shattenkirk 0.61
— Pete Jensen (@NHLJensen) July 5, 2017
Furthermore, out of 298 total career points, 146 of them came on the power play. The Rangers desperately need a new power play “quarterback” and Shattenkirk should certainly fill that role. Special teams killed the Rangers last season, which is a common theme in recent years. Shattenkirk will slide right in and hopefully excel on this year’s first power play unit.
Aside from his offensive abilities, Shattenkirk also excels on the defensive side of the ice. Many people have expressed their opinion that he is somehow a “defensive liability” but the statistics disagree. Shattenkirk ranks exceptionally well in Shot Supression, and Scoring Chances against. The job of a defender is to prevent the opponent from scoring and Shattenkirk happens to do that job well. The less you let an opponent shoot, the less likely they are to score. The speculation that he is specifically a one-dimensional defenseman is just false. This is evident in this chart comparing Shattenkirk to a prototypical NHL number one d-man.
Be that as it may, people will still go out of their way to bash his defensive capabilities. This year he will have every opportunity to prove himeself while on the Rangers first defensive pair with captain Ryan McDonagh.