NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Rangers have filled a big hole on the right side of their defense.
New York made a splash during the early hours of free agency on Saturday, agreeing to a four-year, $26.6 million contract with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, the top prize on the market, TSN’s Frank Seravalli first reported.
The Rangers also reportedly reached a deal with veteran goaltender Ondrej Pavelec to back up Henrik Lundqvist.
A native of New Rochelle, Shattenkirk spent last season with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals, finishing with 13 goals and 43 assists in 80 games.
The 28-year-old blueliner said he wanted nothing more than to play for the Rangers, the team he grew up supporting.
“It was quite a week, to say the least,” Shattenkirk told The NHL Network. “Things change on a day-to-day basis, and coming into this morning there was still a lot of uncertainty as to where I was going to go. It really was, when it came down to it, not a numbers and term thing, it was where was going to be the best fit for me, and obviously the opportunity to play for my lifelong, favorite team and to live out a lifelong dream was something I felt I couldn’t let pass by.
“I think I always envisioned myself being a Ranger from the moment I stepped on the ice as a kid,” Shattenkirk added. “… It seemed like there were a lot of other options out there and I was open to really anything, and there were a lot of great deals that were presented to me in the last week that I really gave strong consideration to. I’m just thankful I have this opportunity to play with a team I grew up loving.”
When asked about one day winning the Stanley Cup, something the Rangers haven’t done since 1994, Shattenkirk said, “For me to be able to do that in my home city would be amazing.”
Shattenkirk is considered one of the top power play specialists at his position, something the Rangers desperately needed. New York converted on 20.2 percent of its chances during the regular season, but that number fell to 7.7 percent during the playoffs, which ended with a six-game loss to the Ottawa Senators in the second round. Over the last four regular seasons, Shattenkirk has recorded 26, 25, 26, and 27 points, respectively, on the man advantage.
Shattenkirk will be expected to log big minutes alongside captain Ryan McDonagh on the first pairing. Earlier this week, the Rangers reportedly agreed to terms on a new deal with Brendan Smith, who figures to play on the second pairing, possibly with youngster Brady Skjei, in 2017-18.
As for Pavelec, he agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million deal, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported.
Pavelec takes over for Antti Raanta, who, along with center Derek Stepan, was traded last week to the Arizona Coyotes. The Rangers received the No. 7 overall pick in this year’s draft and 21-year-old defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.
Pavelec had previously played his entire 10-year career with the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets franchise, including four years while the team was still known as the Atlanta Thrashers.
The 29-year-old Czech netminder has a career record of 152-158-47, with a 2.87 goals-against average, .907 save percentage, and 17 shutouts.