NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Rangers are going to have a big hole in their defense for a while.
The team announced on Friday that veteran Kevin Shattenkirk will be out indefinitely due to a meniscus tear. He is expected to have surgery soon.
Shattenkirk said he had been dealing with the injury since late September, but has “come to a point now that it’s the right time to get surgery.”
Maybe for him, but it couldn’t come at a worse time for the Rangers, who are in a fight for a playoff spot in the highly competitive Eastern Conference. With Thursday night’s 4-3 win over Buffalo, New York (24-17-5) sits tied with Pittsburgh at 53 points, but occupies the first wild card because it has played two less games. The Rangers are also seven points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Shattenkirk, who signed a four-year, $26.6 million contract on the first day of free agency last summer, has 23 points. The 28-year-old defenseman’s 12 power play points are tied with Mika Zibanejad for the team lead.
“I think I’ve been trying to battle through this for a lot of reasons and when it came down to it … you have to think about yourself,” Shattenkirk said, adding, “I think this is the first step to get back to where I am and come back and have a meaningful impact on this team down the stretch.”
The Rangers are also dealing with injuries to forward Kevin Hayes and defenseman Marc Staal. Head coach Alain Vigneault said both are 50/50 for Sunday’s game in Los Angeles.
Due to the injuries, the team announced that it has recalled defenseman Tony DeAngelo and forward Daniel Catenacci from AHL Hartford.