Kevin Shattenkirk’s turbulent journey with the New York Rangers continued in 2018-19 as the defenseman endured another rough ride of a season.
Kevin Shattenkirk: Grade D-
Our 2018-19 New York Rangers Report Cards continue in full swing today as we take a look at Kevin Shattenkirk’s year, which turned out to be another highly disappointing and frustrating one for the New Rochelle native.
Coming off an injury ravaged debut season in the Big Apple, Shattenkirk had a chip on his shoulder and a massive point to prove in 2018-19.
Luck seemed to be on his side too having been reunited with new Rangers head coach David Quinn with the pair previously working together at Boston University.
However, the effects of the torn meniscus suffered in 2017-18 were still lingering and that, coupled with rustiness, derailed Shattenkirk in the early throes of 18-19 as he was scratched after the opening four games.
That decision sent shockwaves through the New York Rangers organization and laid down a clear marker that no player, whether a rookie or a veteran, would get away with not putting in maximum effort.
In truth, Shattenkirk never recovered from yet another slow start and an additional injury at Christmas derailed his progress further.
His lack of speed with and without the puck has been a big concern, as has his decision making in the defensive zone.
He was guilty of turning the puck over far too many times and had a total of 55 giveaways in 18-19, the second highest in his career behind the 61 giveaways he surrendered in 2017-18.
Perhaps the biggest bane of frustration for the Rangers, though, was Shattenkirk’s lack of production on the power play.
With 146 of his 298 career points prior to landing in New York coming on the man advantage, Shattenkirk was rightly considered a power play specialist.
But that hasn’t quite transitioned to Broadway with the right shot a complete bust on the power play in his two years with the Rangers.
He had just one goal and only seven points on the power play this year and was eventually replaced on the top unit by Tony DeAngelo, who finished with ten points with the man advantage.
However, and to add some balance to this, it wasn’t all bad for Shattenkirk in 2018-19 with his 50.39 expected goals for percentage at 5v5 ranking as the best on the Rangers blueline, and he also finished with the 89th lowest PDO among 108 NHL defensemen who had logged at least 1,100 minutes of 5v5 ice time in 2018-19.
But those stats are just the odd ray of sunlight in what was another tough year for Shattenkirk who, at 30-years-old, will be hoping that his best days aren’t already in the rearview mirror.
Why the grade
As has been the theme in many of these report cards so far, consistency played a big part in deciding to give Kevin Shattenkirk a D- grade.
But, more importantly is the fact that the blueliner just hasn’t been nearly good enough considering his reputation and what was expected of him when he was first brought to New York in July 2017.
Granted, signing for a team very much considered a contender and then seeing everything torn apart in-front of your very eyes probably hasn’t helped Shattenkirk’s cause either.
You have to look at the eye test and the cold hard facts and stats in cases like this, however. Shattenkirk is an offensive defenseman and his production just wasn’t at the level it should have been in 2018-19.
He finished with 28 points (two goals, 26 assists) which is poor when you look at other offensive defensemen in the NHL, such as Morgan Rielly, John Carlson and Keith Yandle and the production they had in this season.
Shattenkirk isn’t getting any younger and, following the signing of young stud Adam Fox last week, his days with the New York Rangers could be numbered as this rebuild continues to gather momentum.
Power Play Goals: 1
Power Play Points: 7
Plus / Minus: -15
Blocked Shots: 104
Next Report Card: Brady Skjei