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It is coming down to that time. The protection lists are in, the expansion draft is in a day and that leaves us less than two weeks away from the free agent market opening up. It is no secret that the Devils have to fix their defensive weapons. If this was not obvious already, the biggest name on the free agent market that the team is in serious contention for is Kevin Shattenkirk.
While he is not the most prolific goal scorer on the market, he is an incredible defenseman, which is something Cory Schneider and the rest of the team would love to have.
The current Washington Capitals defenseman finished with 56 points (13 G 43 A) in 2016-17. This shows that he has good puck movement, which can lead to goals even if he is not the one scoring them. Thirteen is not a bad number of goals for a defenseman of his caliber, either. To get a better sense of Shattenkirk, let’s take an in-depth look at his 5-on-5 numbers.
Let’s start with his Corsi rating. Corsi is an advanced statistic used to measure shot attempt differential while at 5-on-5. This includes shots on goal, missed shots on goal, and blocked shot attempts towards the opposition’s net minus the same shot attempts directed at your own team’s net. Fifty percent is the average mark to have and anything above that is considered good, while anything below that is considered bad. Shattenkirk has a 53.7 percent Corsi in his career, which is incredible. It’s difficult to hold a rating around 50 percent, so the fact that he is almost at 54% shows he is a really effective defenseman.
Shattenkirk has also been a positive driver of play over the last three seasons. His relative Corsi For%, which shows a player’s possession relative to his teammates when on the ice, over the last three seasons is +2.3%, which is about the same as defensemen such as Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jacob Trouba. Shattenkirk is also one of the best shot suppressors in the league over the last three seasons, averaging 48.6 shot attempts against per 60 minutes, the eleventh best mark in the league for a defenseman with 1000+ minutes.
On the offensive end, Shattenkirk gets it done as well. One stat we can look at is his points per 60 minutes. Over his seven year career, he has averaged 0.99 points per 60 minutes, which is a pretty good rate for a defenseman. He has proven that he can move the puck very well, as well as put the puck in the net and has the offensive the game the Devils need on their back end.
We have taken a good look at Kevin Shattenkirk. It is time to make the ultimate decision on whether or not the New Jersey Devils should sign him. The answer is simply, yes. Throw the bank at him and whatever else it takes to get him. Defense has been the Devils weakness at least since Shattenkirk came into the league back in 2011. This is a player who can greatly improve the team over time, and at 28 years old he is still young and ready to do some damage. Rumors speculate he is headed to Manhattan to play for the arch-rival New York Rangers, but as of right now the Devils have more than enough money to afford him.
Side note: Be sure to tune into the NHL Awards at 8:00 on Wednesday on NBC Sports where they will also announce the Vegas Golden Knights roster.