Don’t expect the Boston Bruins to pursue recently bought out and now unrestricted free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk again. After trying to sign Shattenkirk two summers ago and trying to acquire him via a trade prior to that, an NHL source close to the situation confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that it’s “highly unlikely” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney circles back on the former Boston University star.
The Rangers officially bought out the final two seasons of the four-year, $26.6 million contract the Shattenkirk signed with them back in 2017. The contract had a $6.65 million salary-cap hit pers season. The cap-strapped Rangers, who were above the $81.5 million salary cap ceiling are now cap compliant as they will only pay $1.4 million of Shattenkirk’s cap hit for the 2020-21 season.
“Today’s decision was a very difficult one. Kevin is a great person and teammate and he was extremely proud to be a New York Ranger. We wish him and his family all the best going forward.”
Full #NYR press release ⬇️
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) August 1, 2019
It’s not surprising that the Bruins aren’t interested in Shattenkirk now even if he will likely sign for a lot less than what he was being paid by the Rangers. Sweeney has just $7.2 million in cap space and still needs to sign his two best young defensemen in restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, as well as potentially extending Torey Krug past next July 1 when Krug can become an unrestricted free agent. As reported here last month, the Bruins have recently increased their efforts to do just that, and will likely keep Krug this season even if they can’t extend him.
Krug’s power-play skill and all-around game far outweigh Shattenkirk’s. As this source pointed out, “considering the power play is what Shattenkirk is known for and Krug is better, what would be the point?
“The only way I see Boston in on Shattenkirk, is if they trade Krug before Shattenkirk signs anywhere,” the source said. “Even still, it doesn’t make much sense anymore for them to sign him.”
Even still, Sweeney would be hesitant to take time away from his core of young defenseman that includes McAvoy (21), Carlo (22) Matt Grzelcyk (25) and maybe even Urho Vaakanainen (20) this season. Factor in that Shattenkirk has been a bust ever since hurting his knee and missing most of his first season in New York, there simply isn’t a fit with the Bruins.
Late Thursday afternoon, Shattenkirk’s agent told Boston Hockey Now that “multiple teams” had already called him and that he and his client were open to “the right fit wherever that may be”, even if it meant Shattenkirk had to move away from his native New Rochelle, New York again.
Shattenkirk finished his Rangers career with just seven goals and 44 points in 119 games over two seasons. Shattenkirk’s best season came in 2016-17 when he had 13 goals and 33 assists for 46 points split between the St. Louis Blues (61 games) and the Washington Capitals (19 games). That capped a run of four straight seasons in which Shattenkirk had 40 points or more. His best season in New York came this past season when he had two goals and notched 26 assists.