The New York sports faithful like to think everyone wants to play in the Big Apple. While that may not always be true, that certainly was the case for prized New York Rangers free-agent acquisition Kevin Shattenkirk.
The defenseman, who grew up a Blueshirts fan in New Rochelle, was considered the crown jewel of the free-agent market and turned down larger deals to play with his hometown team.
“If you can bring it home in New York, for me, it’s something you can never replicate anywhere else,” Shattenkirk told reporters shortly after inking a four-year, $26.6 million contract in July. “New York is New York, and as critical as the fan base is and the media, they’re just as happy to see you win and your legacy will kind of live on forever.”
The smooth-skating defenseman should do wonders on a depleted Ranger blue line. Alongside captain Ryan McDonagh, he will be expected to jump-start an offense that has plenty of question marks, from the back.
Shattenkirk, who registered 13 goals and 43 assists (56 points) last season split between the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals, is expected to improve their puck movement and their 11th-rank power play.
His late-season trade to Washington was supposed to bolster the Capitals chances in a run for the Stanley Cup. Even in a second-round defeat, he strengthened his postseason resume with a goal and five assists in 13 appearances. The Rangers are hoping he can do all that and more once April rolls around.