Kevin Shattenkirk by Bridget Samuels
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Rangers Sign Kevin Shattenkirk to 4-Year/$26.6M Contract; $6.65M AAV

It’s happening. The biggest name in free agency, Kevin Shattenkirk, is a New York Ranger according to multiple reports:

:tweet: @[b]TSNBobMcKenzie[/b]: . @frank_seravalli reporting an expected four-year deal with an AAV of $6.65M:

The New Rochelle native officially agreed to a four-year deal worth $26.6M a few hours after the market for Unrestricted Free Agents opened at noon Eastern time, bringing to a close more than two years worth of speculation that the 28-year old wished to suit up for the Blueshirts.

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NHLPA, Buyout Window and Klein to Define Rangers' Off Season

It is every hockey fan’s favorite time of year…

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OK, OK, hockey playing time is over and hockey management time is upon us. While each member of the Pittsburgh Penguins is now planning their “day with the Cup” (Barf.gif), General Managers and their supporting staff are crunching numbers, reviewing contracts and making contingencies based on where the upper, and for some poor teams’ fans, the lower limits of the 2017/18 Salary Cap will level off.

Leveled off is precisely where the Salary Cap will sit if the NHL Players’ Association decides not to invoke a rule called the “escalator” which artificially inflates the cap ceiling up to five percent higher than the players’ 50% share of Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) dictates. That even split of HRR would keep the cap at right around $73M per team according to league estimates, the number it was at last season. In 2016/17 the NHLPA did decide to use that escalator, or else the cap that year would have been just under $70M per team.

Kevin Shattenkirk by Bridget Samuels
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The Case Against Kevin $hattenkirk

Making this type of free agent splash almost certainly means a buyout of Marc Staal and/or Dan Girardi, but the ripple effect goes beyond the two veterans. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Jeff Gorton spends big on Shattenkirk and then shells out another $4 million or so for Brendan Smith. If that’s the case, then we’re all but guaranteed one of Nick Holden, Marc Staal, or Dan Girardi spending another year in the top four. Perhaps a new face, namely Ryan Graves, Neal Pionk, or Alexei Bereglazov can cement a spot, but that’s likely wishful thinking at this point as only Graves has ever played professional hockey in North America.

The pure cost and trickle-down effect in the lineup make a Shattenkirk contract a tough sell. That’s compounded by the fact that, despite all he does well, he’s never been a top-pairing shutdown defenseman and doesn’t have the skins on the wall to warrant such a promotion in New York.

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What if the Rangers Buyout Both Girardi and Staal?

It is time for the Rangers to get proactive. And the best they can do now is swallow the hard pill, in buying out both Staal and Girardi prior to this summer’s Expansion Draft.

No doubt it’s a lot of dead cap space to carry, but perhaps with the defensive prospects they now have thanks to some savvy work by Rangers GM Jeff Gorton on the young free agent market, he’s created the perfect time to rip the band aid right off.

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Trade Talk: Shattenkirk

File this one under “Unsurprising”. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the Rangers are among the teams who have formally reached out to St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong about pending UFA defenseman, Kevin Shattenkirk. LeBrun: #Bruins, #NYR among the teams that have made calls to #stlblues about Shattenkirk. — Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 2, […]

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Rangers Must See Hamilton on Broadway

To answer the question posed by The Hockey News’ Lyle Richardson, yes, the Rangers should pursue Dougie Hamilton. They should pursue any option that would improve their defense. Specifically, right-handed puck-movers to strengthen a relatively weak right side where 23 games into the season they have returned their $5.5M analytics drain named Dan Girardi to […]