Shattenkirk comes home to Rangers
The metropolitan area may have been calling Kevin Shattenkirk home, but his expected price tag as a free agent seemed to make a deal with the New York Rangers unlikely.
“Some sacrifices had to be made,” Shattenkirk said on a conference call Saturday. “Those things are what you leave on the table to fulfill a dream like this.”
The 28-year-old defenseman joined the Rangers on a four-year deal worth a reported $26.6 million, far from cheap but a combination that got the deal done.
“Maybe there was some term and money left on the table,” Shattenkirk said. “It was an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream, an opportunity that may only come once in my career.
“This is a team I’m extremely excited about.”
The Greenwich native, who grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., but played in the Mid-Fairfield program and at Brunswick, was one of the premier free agents in Saturday’s class.
He’s had at least 40 points in six of his seven NHL seasons; the exception was the lockout year of 2012-13, when he had 23 points in 48 games.
Traded from St. Louis to Washington just before the deadline this season, Shattenkirk scored six points in 13 playoff games for the Capitals. Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said the team’s scouts thought Shattenkirk played better than he was given credit.
“Kevin’s a player we’ve obviously coveted for a while,” Gorton said, “an offensive defenseman on the right side who can do so many things for you.”
Gorton said he felt Shattenkirk could play alongside any of the Rangers’ left-handed defensemen. Brady Skjei had a strong rookie season, and captain Ryan McDonagh, Shattenkirk said, was a player he thought would help his all-around game.
“My goal is to come in here and be a phenomenal defenseman in all parts of the game,” Shattenkirk said. “I think Ryan McDonagh is going to help me achieve that.”
Shattenkirk said the pressure of playing in New York might have been tougher when he was younger. But he grew up around it, followed the news, understands the attention from a local fan’s perspective.
“No matter where you go, you’re trying to win your team a Stanley Cup,” Shattenkirk said. “There’s no better place to do it than New York.”
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