UFA defenseman option: 2. Kevin Shattenkirk
Kevin Shattenkirk is a journeyman who has played for six different NHL teams during his career. He was drafted and signed by the Colorado Avalanche. Shattenkirk is coming off a three-year $11.7 million contract with the Anaheim Ducks. He won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020. At 34 years old, he’s in the late stage of his career but still has plenty to give as a depth option.
Shattenkirk has great instincts and can move the puck. He can be counted on to get the puck into the offensive zone and pick up assists. Shattenkirk is not as physical as Clifton, which is a downside for the Devils, considering they currently lack physicality. He’s excellent on the power play and useful on the penalty kill. Shattenkirk limits his opponents’ chances. During the 2022-23 regular season, Shattenkirk blocked 115 shots, contributed 23 assists, and made 79 hits. His -20 +/- had more to do with the Ducks as a team than with his individual performance.
It’s possible Shattenkirk will work out an extension with the Ducks. However, he might want to make a run at another Cup. The Devils have tried to land Shattenkirk before; former GM Ray Shero targeted him in free agency in 2017. Ultimately, he signed with the New York Rangers, as a New Yorker who grew up a Rangers fan. His time in New York really didn’t work out, though, ending in a buyout due to poor production and injuries.
Shattenkirk is a good fit if the Devils are looking for a veteran with playoff experience and leadership skills. He’s more similar to Severson than Clifton is. With his age and with young defensemen knocking on the door, a short-term contract is ideal. Shattenkirk could be a strong addition to the blueline if the Devils are looking for a stopgap.