Just a few years ago, Kevin Shattenkirk was arguably the top name of the 2017 free agent class.
Things didn’t go as planned with the New York Rangers though, and he was bought out after just two seasons with the team. Last season, however, Shattenkirk bounced back with the Tampa Bay Lightning, playing a role in Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup win.
Now three years after headlining that free agent class, Shattenkirk was the Anaheim Ducks’ most notable addition of the 2020 offseason and will round out the top-four of Anaheim’s defense group. So what should the Ducks expect from Shattenkirk this coming season?
Shattenkirk isn’t going to play the 21 or 22 minutes that he was logging with the St. Louis Blues a few years back, but he has averaged about 19 minutes per game over each of the last two seasons. Cam Fowler, Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm each averaged 20 to 23 minutes per game last season respectively, meaning Shattenkirk isn’t going to need to take on too large of a role. That said, Erik Gudbranson did average 20 minutes per game last year, so we could see Shattenkirk close to that mark with the Ducks.
Shattenkirk is also likely to get some time on the power play. However, a huge positive is that of his 34 points last season, just seven of those came on the man advantage, meaning Shattenkirk is certainly capable of producing at even strength as well.
Here are Shattenkirk’s goals and points per 82 game averages over the last five seasons:
While we shouldn’t count on Shattenkirk to for nearly 15 goals and 50 points, it’s certainly possible that we see him score around 40 points again next season.
That said, Shattenkirk may be able to produce, but we can expect him to get favourable usage. He played against a much lower quality of competition that Erik Cernak, Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh in Tampa Bay (according to Hockey Abstract) and will likely play against the lowest quality of competition of anyone in Anaheim's top-four. We can also expect him to be used in a largely offensive role, considering he had an offensive zone start percentage of 53.2 per cent with the Lightning last season. As a result, Lindholm and Manson will almost certainly still be counted on to face the tough matchups next season.
Shattenkirk was brought in to add offense from the back end and should get a pretty decent opportunity to do that in Anaheim. Shattenkirk likely won't face overly difficult matchups but nevertheless, he’ll be a big help for the Ducks next season.
***NOTE: We've launched a HockeyBuzz Ducks Twitter account! For anyone interested, you can follow @HB_Ducks for updates on articles, Ducks news, etc.***
Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
How many points do you expect from Kevin Shattenkirk next season?