Originally from New Rochelle, New York, Kevin Shattenkirk dreamed of playing for the Rangers. On July 1, 2017, Shattenkirk realized his wish by agreeing a four-year contract and $ 26.6 million (6.65 million per year) with the “Blue Shirts”.
The beautiful story of the local player finally turned into a bad adventure.
The Rangers cut ties with Shattenkirk after just two years. To get him out of Manhattan, Jeff Gorton agreed to buy back the last two years of his deal. The cost of the operation on the salary cap of the Rangers: 1.433 million for the next four.
Shattenkirk learned of his departure from New York on August 1. Five days later, he said yes to a one-year, 1.75 million pact with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
For Lightning, this signature represented minimal risk. For Shattenkirk, it was an opportunity to restore his image with a very good team.
More than a year later, Julien BriseBois has largely won his bet with the 31-year-old right-handed defender. In Tampa, Shattenkirk found a perfect role for him, not having to be the dominant figure on the blue line.
“I couldn't imagine that,” Shattenkirk said on the eve of Game 4 of the Final against the Stars. My goal was to prove that I was still a good player in the NHL. I wanted to find myself in a place where I could prove that. It was a perfect environment for me with Tampa. I like the style of the Lightning.
“As a right-handed defender, I have the luxury of playing with [Ryan] McDonagh, [Mikhail] Sergachev or [Victor] Hedman,” he continued. We are talking about three very good defenders. I am happy to return to a winning team where there is a culture of established. ”
Reliable and productive
With the Lightning, Shattenkirk had a very strong first season with 34 points (8 goals, 26 assists) in 70 games and a +22 record. He averaged almost 19 minutes.
Good stats for a defender who just didn't fit into the Rangers' plans anymore.
Since the start of the playoffs, the 6-foot, 203-lb right-hander hasn't slowed down with 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 22 games. Again, he gets an average playing time of almost 19 minutes.
Jon Cooper was saying it this week. To build a winning team, you have to put your players in the right places. In the right chair, to use an old expression of Alain Vigneault.
In a role of fifth defenseman, Shattenkirk fits in perfectly with the Lightning. He remains behind the Hedmans, McDonagh, Sergachev and Erik Cernak.
Praise for Hedman
Like all of his teammates with the Lightning, Shattenkirk admires Hedman's play. “I already had very high standards for Hedman before I even arrived in Tampa. I considered him to be one of the best defensemen, if not the best, in the NHL for a long time. He also has a desire to be the best. He runs on it. He skates so well for a great defender. It's nice to watch him play. ”
With a 2-1 lead in the final, the Lightning now finds itself two small wins away from a second Stanley Cup win. A first since 2004.
It was pretty predictable, but Cooper didn't give too much information about Steven Stamkos' state of health.
“We'll have a better response on Friday morning,” Cooper replied. The guys are entering the arena. I do not yet have a medical report to offer you. ”
Stamkos, who scored on his return to play, remained on the bench for the last 46 minutes in the 5-2 win.