Should the Blue Jackets Have Gone After Kevin Shattenkirk?

By Jacob Nitzberg on August 7, 2019 at 1:20 pm
Mar 15, 2019; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 5-1.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

In an offseason with lots of question marks, the Blue Jackets' defensive corps is a group that has seen little change. 

The defensemen on the Blue Jackets' roster figure to make up one of the most talented and deepest defensive groups in the Metropolitan Division — and the NHL, for that matter. 

Despite that, when the New York Rangers bought out Kevin Shattenkirk, would it have been worth it for the Blue Jackets to sign him?

Here's Why It Would Have

The Blue Jackets only have three right-handed shooting defensemen on their roster at the moment, and it's unlikely that Adam Clendening will start the season anywhere except the AHL. David Savard and Seth Jones are two of the Blue Jackets' most important players, but there is still a hole for a third or second pairing right-handed defenseman (i.e. Shattenkirk).

Shattenkirk can play on the power play, and he's good for 45-55 points a season when he's on a decent team and healthy. His career CF% is 52.8, which is slightly inflated by his career 57.7% oZS, but it's still a very solid mark.

The leadership that Shattenkirk could have provided would have been very helpful to the very young Blue Jackets' defensive group. At 30, Shattenkirk would be the oldest defenseman on the roster — he's 8 years older than Zach Werenski and 5 years older than Seth Jones.

Here's Why It Wouldn't Have

It's not exactly a great sign when a player gets bought out of a contract just two years into a four-year deal.

Shattenkirk struggled to stay healthy and justify the four year, $26.6 million contract that the Rangers gave him.

He also saw his scoring decrease significantly while in New York. Some of that can be attributed to the Rangers' rebuild, but his play was not up to the standard that he set while with the St. Louis Blues.


Shattenkirk signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning for one year and $1.75 million, accepting a "prove yourself" contract as he tries to shake off what happened in New York.

At that cap hit, and such a short term, it would have made financial sense for the Blue Jackets to offer him a similar deal. 

It would have added a third right-handed shot, a power-play contributor, and a veteran for a very low price and risk.

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