New York Rangers: The Kevin Shattenkirk conundrum

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 10: Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the New York Rangers celebrates his second period goal against the New York Islanders during their game at Madison Square Garden on January 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

A bum rap

Kevin Shattenkirk’s tenure with the Rangers has gone as far off course as you could imagine.  Knowing his limitations, from the beginning he would have been hard pressed to live up to  expectations. Then, before his first season even started he suffered a debilitating knee injury that he tried to play through, even though it hampered his mobility and speed.

The hiring of David Quinn, his old pal from Boston University, set Shattenkirk up for disappointment yet again.  Still suffering the effects of his knee surgery, he got off to a slow start and he was benched by Quinn for all of one game.  The benching, four games into the new season, made headlines.  Later, we all learned how Quinn uses the healthy scratch as a coaching tool, but at the time, it seemed like a big move.

Shattenkirk is only two seasons removed from a year when he had 56 points.  Seven NHL defensemen had more than 56 points this season and only three were righthanded (Brent Burns, John Carlson and Tyson Barrie).   30 NHL defensemen scored more than 40 points this season.  Shattenkirk exceeded that number six times in the seven years before he came to New York.

A fresh start with a new team may be precisely what Shattenkirk needs to get back to his pre-Blueshirts form. If a team is willing to gamble that Shattenkirk can regain the form and is fully recovered from his knee issues, the Rangers may be able to find a willing trade partner.



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