There appears to have been more interest in Kevin Shattenkirk than most anticipated, making his one-year, $1.75MM pact with the Tampa Bay Lightning all the more interesting. Earlier today, it was reported that the Lightning and the Arizona Coyotes were just two of eleven teams that reached out to Shattenkirk. Now, The Fourth Period’s Dennis Bernstein states that the Anaheim Ducks went so far as to make Shattenkirk a formal, multi-year contract offer. He notes that the Los Angeles Kings also entered the mix. Colleague David Pagnotta adds that the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, and Winnipeg Jets were also serious contenders. As for some of the other possible suitors, there was rampant speculation that both the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers would have interest in Shattenkirk. At the end of the day, the veteran puck-mover clearly chose what he felt was his best opportunity to return to form as a high-scoring, dynamic defenseman, playing with the uber-skilled Lightning. There were surely offers for more money and term than what Shattenkirk ended up accepting to go to Tampa, and what remains is to make the most of that gamble by asserting himself as a top option on a crowded blue line and padding his stats before hitting the free agent market again next summer.
- Despite Shattenkirk’s ties to the city during his collegiate career, it’s safe to assume that the Boston Bruins were not one of the teams interested in his services. The Bruins are having a hard enough time getting their own right-handed defensemen under contract with limited cap space, never mind adding another to the mix. Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo remain unsigned and the team has acknowledged that one or both may miss time during training camp due to to the rigors of difficult negotiations. Barring some magic from GM Don Sweeney and company, Boston will likely have to make a move to free up cap space. While many hope that it would be overpaid and ineffective veteran David Backes leaving town, such a trade would be hard to make and/or would cost the Bruins too much in picks or prospects. NBC Sports’ James O’Brien writes that defenseman Kevan Miller is instead the most likely casualty. Miller is a strong two-way defenseman who can make an impact on any team, when healthy. The problem is that he is not healthy as often as the Bruins have liked, leading them to invest heavily in defensive depth, such as signing John Moore last summer and extending Steven Kampfer and Connor Clifton in recent months. The Bruins have the depth to survive next season without Miller, after which he is likely to leave as a free agent anyway. Eliminating Miller’s $2.5MM cap hit may give the team just enough wiggle room to sign McAvoy and Carlo to long-term contracts. Meanwhile, even with so many teams facing salary cap issues, there would be a market for Miller’s services as a year-long rental to play a shutdown role for a contender.
- NHL scouts will have to travel to the Czech Republic to evaluate one of the 2020 draft class’ top goaltenders in-person this upcoming season. 17-year-old Nick Malik, son of former NHL defenseman Marek Malik, was drafted by the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in this summer’s CHL Import Draft, but will not sign with the club. His Czech junior team, HC Ocelari Trinec, announced today that their starting goaltender will be staying through the 2019-20 season. Malik is considered one of the top handful of goaltenders early on in the 2020 evaluation process, with one scouting source, Future Considerations, naming him their No. 2 goalie and No. 59 overall prospect in their preliminary rankings last month. The Czech keeper, who was actually born in Raleigh, North Carolina while his dad was playing for the Hurricanes, has turned heads with his calm demeanor and lightning reflexes in net and performed very well at the U-17 World Junior Championship last year. Rather than split time with new Greyhounds acquisition Christian Propp, who made 51 appearances for the North Bay Battalion last season, Malik will likely be the undisputed starter for Ocelari and will have the chance to make more appearances in the Czech secondary pro league.