Rangers Jettison Shatty as Rebuild (Sort Of) Ends. Kevin Shattenkirk Era Ends

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NEW YORK, NY – It was a great story when it happened. The star defenseman on the free agent market was leaving money on the table to play for the team he grew up rooting for in his home town. But after just two disappointing seasons, the Kevin Shattenkirk era on Broadway is over. The Rangers bought out Shatty’s contract this week to clear cap space. The writing was on the wall after the acquisitions of Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox on the blue line and Artemi Panarin to play the wing for about $400k per goal.

With Trouba signing a contract for 7 years, with a cap hit of $8 million per and Panarin signing on for $11.6 million per year, the Blueshirts needed to clear cap space. Henrik Lundqvist’s $8.5 million cap hit isn’t going anywhere for the time being so Shattenkirk was on the short list for a buyout along with part-time defenseman Brendan Smith who has a cap hit of $4.35 million.

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Shattenkirk’s injury-plagued two seasons in New York were bad, but I thought he would still have a roster spot this season. I thought the brass would opt to buy out Smith, who was so useless on the blue line that he spent a significant spell on the fourth forward line and another significant spell with the Hartford Wolfpack. Marc Staal and his $5 million cap hit was another candidate for a buyout.  But in the end, Shatty’s no-trade clause along with his poor performance and large cap hit made him the number one choice for a buyout to GM Jeff Gorton and new team President John “JD” Davidson.

While the move clears a good bit of cap space this season, it will be followed by a $6 million cap hit for Shatty’s ghost in the 2020-21 season. The Rangers will certainly not have the funds to sign Chris Kreider next summer. The Blueshirts have several impending free agents after the coming season including Namestnikov, Strome, Fast, and net-minder Alexandar Georgiev. With two years currently remaining on Henrik Lundqvist’s contract and Igor Shestyorkin waiting in the wings, the Rangers will have a number of questions to answer next summer. Georgiev played well last season and will certainly see more time in net as Lundqvist winds down his career. The Bulgarian net-minder will be a Restricted Free Agent next summer.

The Broadway Blues could look to trade Georgiev this season. They could also look to trade Lundqvist or buy him out next summer. I don’t think they’ll do that though. Unless Lundqvist plans on retiring after the upcoming season, I think Georgiev will sign elsewhere after declining a qualifying offer from the Rangers. That will free up a spot for Igor to come to North America and play behind Lundqvist in Hank’s final season.

One gets the feeling that JD has been trying to accelerate the rebuild to put a viable team on the ice this coming season. The acquisitions of Trouba and Panarin seem to signal that the rebuild is just about over. While I don’t think the Blueshirts are ready to make a run at the cup. These additions and the smart draft picks over the last couple of seasons could have the Rangers fighting for a playoff berth.

We’ve got another month to go until training camp starts. We’ll see what this new-look Rangers team can do then. In the meantime, comment below and come back tomorrow for Junoir Blaber, a man that plays goalie with no cup.

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Different Matt is our cunning Cornell grad/rugby player. "Diff" joined us just after the switch from being "Mets only" to an all-sports stop. He's a Yankee fan; thus he was "different." Aside from the Yanks, he's a diehard NY Giants, NY Rangers and NY Knicks fan. He also likes long walks on the beach and cappuccinos and nearly died in Las Vegas.

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