After the New York Rangers made the not-so-surprising decision to buy out the final two years on defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s four-year, $26.6 million contract, the New York Islanders were brought up as a potential landing spot, should the aging defenseman prefer to stay local.
While Shattenkirk was once a top defender in the NHL, he has struggled since joining the Rangers. In his first season with the boys in blue, he only played in 46 games due to injuries. In those 46 games, he recorded five goals and 18 assists. This past season, he played in 73 games and only scored two goals while adding 26 assists. An area which he really struggled in was the plus-minus category, in which he was a -14 in his first season in New York and a -15 this past season. It is no secret that the now 30-old defenseman is not what he once was in St. Louis, so why would the Islanders have any interest in him?
Shattenkirk would likely take a very cap-friendly deal with whatever team he signs with this late in the offseason. The Islanders have liked to have a veteran defenseman up in the press box as their seventh defenseman over the past few seasons, with Dennis Seidenberg and Luca Sbisa filling those roles. Although this has worked for the Islanders in the past, it simply doesn’t make sense for them right now.
Shattenkirk is a right-handed defenseman, a role currently occupied by Johnny Boychuk, Scott Mayfield and Ryan Pulock, with Noah Dobson and Bode Wilde waiting in the wings.
Adding Shattenkirk to an already crowded group of not only just righties, but defenseman in general, does not make sense for the Islanders right now, and would simply push back the opportunities for guys like Noah Dobson and Bode Wilde to see NHL action for the first times in their careers.
Fans of this team love to speculate the impossible, linking their favorite team to every big name. While Shattenkirk rebounding next season is possible, even likely, do not expect that bounce-back season to come with the Islanders.