In the push for a Stanley Cup last spring, the Washington Capitals acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk at the trade deadline, in return for Zach Sanford, Brad Malone and a first-round pick.
The defender recorded one goal and posted six points as the Capitals exited the playoffs in the second round for the third straight season.
Shattenkirk did not re-sign with the Caps, and many thought it was because the team could not offer extensions to all its veterans. But with Shattenkirk facing his former team on Friday, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz might have revealed why the defenseman was not offer a deal and signed with the New York Rangers.
“I think everybody thought of him as a 1-2 [defenceman], and he really wasn’t,” Trotz said Thursday, per the New York Post. “He was a little lower."
“I think he had a patch during the one series where it wasn’t really good,” Trotz added. “I think he regained it and scored a big goal for us in Pitt. The first playoff series, that’s what you remember. It sticks out. But I think overall he was fine.”
New York sit three points back of the Capitals entering Friday night's contest. In 27 games with the Rangers, Shattenkirk has recorded five goals and 20 points as he works towards becoming a top-pairing blue liner.
“I think I’m working towards it,” he responded. “I think there’s a lot more room for me to grow. I think I have to handle those top-end matchups a little bit better. When I get those opportunities, I have to really make sure I make them count.”