Yet another former Ranger has packed his bags for the sunny shores of Tampa.
The Tampa Bay Lightning announced Monday that they have signed ex-Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
Shattenkirk will slide into a top-four role on the Lightning defense, potentially beside ex-Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh. Ironically, the Lightning signed Shattenkirk to fill a spot formerly held by two ex-Rangers, Anton Stralman and Dan Girardi, who were let go this summer.
This is just the latest transaction between the Lightning and Rangers in recent years. The Lightning also had J.T. Miller and Ryan Callahan on the roster last season, but Miller is now in Vancouver and Callahan is on injured reserve for Ottawa, an active player in name only after he was advised to stop playing hockey. The Lightning also had Brian Boyle from 2014-2017, and traded Vladislav Namestnikov to the Rangers in 2018.
The "Rangers South" connection began in 2014 when the Rangers acquired Martin St. Louis from the Lightning in exchange for Callahan.
Shattenkirk leaves behind a disappointing legacy in New York. Signed to a four-year, $26 million contract in 2017, the New Rochelle native and lifelong Rangers fan dealt with injuries and just never fit in with the Rangers' system. He didn't provide the offensive impact expected of him (seven goals as a Ranger), and finished with a -29 rating as a Blueshirt. He was bought out last week by the Rangers, who will owe him money for the next four seasons.
Shattenkirk could fit in nicely with the Lightning's up-tempo, offensive system as a power play quarterback. Still just 30 years old, he enters a make-or-break year as a depth player on a small contract for a Stanley Cup contender.
Although the Lightning have employed several Rangers over the last few years, the team still hasn't put it all together to win an elusive Stanley Cup championship. We'll have to wait and see if McDonagh and Shattenkirk are the next former Rangers to win championship rings.