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Three reasons to love Shattenkirk’s contract

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Kevin Shattenkirk is a New York Ranger and because of that the Rangers defense is already miles better than it was during the 2017 Playoffs.

We’ll save concerns about Shattenkirk’s defensive play for another day and instead focus on what it took to bring him to Broadway. But rest assured that the 28-year-old had a big price tag for a reason. In the past three seasons only six NHL defensemen have averaged more points per game than the Rangers newest star.

Even with a hometown discount the New York native will cost the Rangers $26,600,000 over the next four seasons. Shattenkirk’s deal carries an AAV and cap hit of $6.65 million per year. He will make as much money as Dustin Byfuglien and Victor Hedman next season and he will take up more cap space than Erik Karlsson, Keith Yandle and Alex Pietrangelo currently take up for their respective teams.

So, why are so many considering this contract a great deal for the Rangers?

The Term

Shattenkirk is 28-years-old and is turning 29 in January. That means that the four-year contract he signed with the Rangers will keep him in New York for what will most likely be the best years of hockey he has left in him. The Rangers won’t be paying Shattenkirk like an elite defenseman when he’s in his mid-30s. That’s a big deal.

Fittingly enough Shattenkirk is signed through the remainder of Henrik Lundqvist’s contract. When we talk about the Rangers Cup window, the remainder of Shattenkirk and Lundqvist’s contract will undoubtedly be focal points of the conversation. So too will the cap hits that they carry.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Cap Hit

Shattenkirk is now the Rangers highest-paid defenseman and will likely be the team’s highest-paid skater after Rick Nash’s contract comes off the books on July 1st, 2018. That is, of course, until Jeff Gorton figures out what to do with Ryan McDonagh’s next contract. Yeah, that one isn’t going to come cheap.

Even for a player of Shattenkirk’s caliber a cap hit of $6.65 million is undoubtedly high. But let’s add some context to that number by looking at some of the most expensive deals for defensemen so far this offseason.

  • Marc-Eduoard Vlasic, 30-years-old. Eight-year extension with Sharks. Cap hit: $7,000,000.
  • Justin Schultz, 26-years-old. Three-year extension with Pittsburgh. Cap hit: $5,500,000.
  • Dmitry Orlov, 25-years-old. Five-year extension with Capitals. Cap hit: $5,100,000.
  • Karl Alzner, 28-years-old. Five-year deal with Montreal. Cap hit: $4,625,000.
  • Brendan Smith, 28-years-old. Four-year extension with Rangers. Cap hit: $4,350,000.
  • Kris Russel, 30-years-old. Four-year extension with Oilers. Cap hit: $4,000,000.
  • Michael Stone, 27-years-old. Three-year extension with Flames. Cap hit: $3,500,000.
  • Trevor Daley, 33-years-old. Three-year deal with Detroit. Cap hit: $3,166,667.
  • Michael Del Zotto, 27-years-old. Two-year deal with Canucks. Cap hit: $3,000,000.

Shattenkirk’s cap hit of $6.65 is made more palatable because it only lasts for four years. In the list above Justin Schultz was the only other defenseman to score 50 points last season. But unlike Shattenkirk he was a restricted free agent on July 1st, and unlike Shattenkirk he will only be a first-pairing defender if Kris Letang gets injured again.

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Shattenkirk was a right-handed defenseman in his prime coming off his his most productive season-to-date. He was going to get paid. One could argue that Jeff Gorton was fortunate to avoid a contract with a cap hit north of $7 million a year to bring Shattenkirk in. It looks like Shattenkirk’s affinity for his home state played a major role in keeping his AAV within reason.

He wasn’t going to sign a contract of a similar structure to play elsewhere. Shattenkirk and his agent made this deal work so that he could become a Ranger. There’s no doubt that he left money on the table.

Clauses

Shattenkirk has a no-movement clause for the entirety of his contract, which isn’t great news. But unless there is an unforeseen disaster on the horizon, it won’t be an obstacle.

Another fold to Shattenkirk’s contract is the $2 million signing bonus in the final year of the deal. Why? To make sure he gets paid in the event of a lockout.

After his first season in New York the former Avalanche, Blue and Capital will have a limited no-trade clause in addition to his no-movement clause. From CapFriendly:

2018-20: Player submits a 10 team no trade list. / 2020-21: Player submits an 8 team no trade list.

So in the event of things not working out, which is unlikely but not impossible, the Rangers will be able to move Shattenkirk in a trade. It’s not perfect, but it is worth something.

The Rangers know how costly no-movement clauses can be thanks to the Dan Girardi and Marc Staal contracts. The fact that Shattenkirk’s contract has one is important. But because he’s only signed for four years, it might never become an issue.

Shattenkirk will be 32-years-old in 2021 when his contract expires. It’s unlikely that his play will deteriorate to the point where the Rangers are desperate to move him in four years, but it is important to note that he and Staal take up a combined $12.35 million in cap space through the 2020-21 season. That doesn’t bode well for Staal’s future in New York.


Was Shattenkirk expensive? Absolutely, but he was always going to be and his contract is as “team friendly” as $26.6 million four-year deal can be.

The Shattenkirk signing addresses two major needs that the Rangers had heading into the offseason. He’s a top-pairing defenseman who plays the right side and he’s one of the best power play quarterbacks in the league. Shattenkirk is the real deal.