The Vancouver Canucks need to change up their blueline, and Kevin Shattenkirk of the New York Rangers is an ideal trade target this offseason.
Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has quite the to-do list this offseason, but his top priority is undoubtedly to fix the blue line.
2018 first round pick Quinn Hughes will help immensely, but he alone won’t be able to fix this. Alexander Edler is a pending UFA and might not be back next season. Derrick Pouliot is on his way out, and both Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton will likely be goners at some point between now and next offseason.
Benning has to look at adding at least two defencemen this offseason, and having another blueliner to complement the smooth-skating Hughes might be the last task needed to bring this team back into playoff contention in 2020.
That brings us to New York Rangers defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk, who could hit the trade block this summer. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports the Rangers “will almost certainly attempt to trade Shattenkirk”.
Brooks also speculates that New York could offer to eat up half of Shattenkirk’s contract, adding that they tried to move him at the deadline.
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Shattenkirk carries a $6.65 million cap hit for two more years, per CapFriendly.
Shattenkirk has six 40-point seasons under his belt, but he’s compiled a mere seven goals and 51 points over 119 games with the Rangers. Throw in his contract and age (30), and you can see why there’s little interest in Shattenkirk on the market.
Nonetheless, Benning should inquire about trading for the man who’s only two years removed from a 56-point season. Shattenkirk isn’t great defensively, but he might shine on a Vancouver team led by young stars Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser.
Let’s remember that Benning gave Erik Gudbranson a three-year deal worth $12 million. If the Rangers are willing to eat half of Shattenkirk’s dollars, as Brooks suggests, why wouldn’t Benning want to acquire a player who’s simply better than Gudbranson? At an even better price, too.
Shattenkirk carries a respectable career Corsi For percentage of 52.8, and the rebuilding Rangers just haven’t been a good fit for him. Let’s not forget his tenure with the St. Louis Blues, when Shattenkirk was consistently among the league’s top scorers among blueliners.
Benning has every incentive to look at a trade for Shattenkirk. He’s only signed for two more years and wouldn’t cost much in a trade. Shattenkirk is also a right-handed shooter and could form a dangerous pairing with Hughes.
This would be a very low-risk move for Benning, too. If Shattenkirk doesn’t work out at just over $3 million a year (assuming Rangers pick up half the money) for two seasons, then so be it. But for all we know, Shattenkirk would be able to solve some of Vancouver’s woes on the blue line, and that’s why Benning has to consider making a trade for him this offseason.