Four days after the New York Rangers bought out the final two years of his contract, Kevin Shattenkirk has found a new team.
Shattenkirk’s new home is a familiar one for former Rangers with the 30-year-old defenseman signing a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Lightning on Monday. He now joins Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman, Ryan Callahan, and J.T. Miller as ex-Blueshirts who wound up in Tampa — a.k.a. Rangers South — in the last few years.
In 73 games last season Shattenkirk scored twice and recorded 28 points while battling through the aftermath of knee surgery and nights in the press box as a healthy scratch.
“It’s definitely not a success story,” Shattenkirk said on a Monday conference call. “A lot of these things, they have to be learning experiences.”
The Lightning nearly had Shattenkirk two years ago at the NHL Trade Deadline, but the then-St. Louis Blues defenseman vetoed a deal because he wanted to test the free agent market and not sign an extension before July 1. He was then dealt to Washington before signing a four-year, $26.6 million deal with the Rangers that summer.
[ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker]
Due to Shattenkirk’s buyout, the Rangers will have $1.433 million on their cap until the end of the 2022-23 NHL season and owe him a $2 million signing bonus next July 1. Per Cap Friendly, the Lightning are a little over $9 million from the cap ceiling with only restricted free agents Adam Erne and Brayden Point left to re-sign. That number could rise some once general manager Julien BriseBois figures out their goalie situation with Andrei Vasilevskiy and Louis Domingue and summer acquisitions Curtis McElhinney and Mike Condon. There’s also a move or two for BriseBois to make on the the blue line as it’s now a bit crowded after bringing back Braydon Coburn and Jan Rutta, as well as signing Luke Schenn, who could very well be AHL-bound.
It’s a good signing for both sides. The Lightning take a low-risk gamble on Shattenkirk hoping he can find his offensive form while not feeling the pressure of having to be one of the big contributors on the blue line. For Shattenkirk, he gets a season on a loaded team to find his game again in hopes of being able to cash in next summer in free agency.
“I think I have a huge chip on my shoulder right now,” said Shattenkirk. “I want to show I’m back to my old self and prove that I can be a player in this league again.”
MORE: Shattenkirk’s New York homecoming ends with buyout
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.