Kevin Shattenkirk readily admits his time with the Rangers was not a “success story,” but the defenseman still believes he can be a successful player in the NHL despite being bought out by his hometown team.
The 30-year-old New Rochelle native agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Lightning on Monday. Last Thursday, the Rangers bought out the final two years of Shattenkirk’s deal, which had an average annual value of $6.65 million, after two disappointing seasons with the club.
“I think I have a huge chip on my shoulder right now,” Shattenkirk said on a conference call, adding that he was upset with being bought out and with the Rangers going into rebuilding mode midway through his first season with them. “It didn’t work out with injuries and performance and with the direction of the team, the way that kind of deteriorated from when I signed on July 1  to now.”
The right-shooting Shattenkirk was slowed by a knee injury in his first season with the Rangers, and his role diminished last season even as he led the team’s defensemen in points with two goals and 26 assists in 73 games.
“I’m [upset] at myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to play at home better and give them a reason to make it a no-brainer that this wouldn’t be their decision,” he said.
Shattenkirk’s roster spot with the salary cap-crunched Rangers became more endangered after they signed marquee free agent Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract and acquired two right-shooting defensemen: Jacob Trouba, who signed a seven-year, $56 million deal, and Jericho native Adam Fox.
The Rangers also have two remaining restricted free agents to re-sign: defenseman Tony DeAngelo and forward Brendan Lemieux. Left wing Chris Kreider also is entering the final season of his four-year, $18.5 million deal with an AAV of $4.625 million.
Buying out Shattenkirk will save the Rangers $5.17 million against the $81.5 million cap for 2019-20. However, it will cost the Rangers $6.08 million against the cap in 2020-21 and $1.433 million in each of the following two seasons.
Shattenkirk is the latest in a list of former Rangers to migrate to the Lightning in recent years, including former captain Ryan Callahan, defensemen Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman and forwards J.T. Miller and Brian Boyle.