Kevin Shattenkirk Is Coming Home

By: Leo Scaglione Jr., Pinch-Hitting For The Maven

Kevin Shattenkirk dreamed about playing for the Rangers as a kid.

Two decades later, the 28-year-old defenseman turned those dreams into reality.

Shattenkirk, a native of New Rochelle, NY, signed with the Blueshirts Saturday after becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

“This was an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream — an opportunity that may only come once in my career — and I felt this was my chance,” Shattenkirk said about joining the Rangers. “It’s a team I’m extremely excited about.”

The right-shooting, power-play specialist will immediately provide a boost for the Rangers’ man-advantage, which finished with a 20.2% success rate this past season, tied for 10th best in the NHL.

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During his 2016-17 campaign, Shattenkirk, 6-foot, 209 pounds, contributed a combined eight goals and 27 points on the power play with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals. The Rangers’ defensemen totaled five goals and 29 points with the man advantage, with three coming from Nick Holden and one each by captain Ryan McDonagh and the now-departed Adam Clendening.

In 490 games over his seven-year NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche, Blues and Capitals, Shattenkirk has totaled 298 points (68 goals, 230 assists), of which 146 (35 goals, 111 assists) were recorded on the power play. He’s tallied at least 25 power-play points in each of the last four seasons.

In 60 Stanley Cup playoff matches, Shattenkirk has totaled 34 points (5 goals, 29 assists), of which 15 (1 goal, 14 assists) have come with the man-advantage. His lone power-play marker was an overtime winner on the road for the Capitals in Game 3 of their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins this past postseason.

Since breaking into the league in 2010, only 17 players, two of whom are defensemen (Erik Karlsson and Keith Yandle), have more power-play points than Shattenkirk.

The veteran defenseman joins a younger and more mobile Blueshirts’ blue line, which now features McDonagh, Holden, Marc Staal, Brady Skjei, Anthony DeAngelo, Brendan Smith and Kevin Klein (though there’s been reports that he’s contemplating retirement).

Shattenkirk will also bring leadership to a dressing room that is without center Derek Stepan, who was traded to the Arizona Coyotes, and defenseman Dan Girardi, who was bought out.

Shattenkirk served as captain at Boston University in 2009-10, his junior season, becoming the first junior to serve as lone captain of the Terriers since Bob Smith in 1961-62. The prior season, he helped his college earn their fifth national championship, assisting on the game-winning overtime goal in the title game against Miami (Ohio). That season, he earned a spot on the AHCA All-American East Second Team and was named a Hockey East Second Team All-Star.

In his freshman season, Shattenkirk was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team.

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On the international stage, Shattenkirk made his Olympic debut in 2014 at the Sochi Games with Team USA. He registered three assists in six games. He also represented the United States at the 2011 IIHF World Championship and the 2009 World Junior Championship, during which he notched 9 points (one goal, 8 assists) in six games en route to being named one of USA’s three best players of the tournament. Additionally while playing in the 2007 Under-18 World Championship, he won a silver medal and was named the tournament’s “Best Defenseman.”

Shattenkirk also spent two seasons (2005-07) with the U.S. National Team Development Program after departing the New York City area, where he played youth hockey, including several seasons across the river with the New Jersey Devils Youth Team.

Now, Shattenkirk is home again, back in New York, where his hockey journey began.

“No matter where you go you’re trying to win your team a Stanley Cup,” Shattenkirk concluded. “There’s no better place to try to do it for me than in New York.”