With the New York Rangers in town to face off against the Washington Capitals tonight, there’s been a lot of talk about Kevin Shattenkirk and his role with the Caps down the stretch last season.
When the Capitals traded for Shattenkirk, it was considered one of the biggest deals of the season. His ability to provide some offensive magic despite being a defenseman and help out on the power play were going to make him the final piece Washington needed during a Stanley Cup run. In the end, his performance wasn’t spectacular and the Caps ended up losing in the second round.
With that in mind, Coach Barry Trotz was asked on Thursday about what he thought of Shattenkirk’s time with Washington.
“It worked in areas that we wanted,” Trotz said. “He helped our power play. He made it more dangerous and that.”
Fair enough. What’s received a lot of attention, however, is what Trotz said after that. Contrary to all the buzz about Shattenkirk being a superstar, the Capitals’ coach said he didn’t even think he was a top line defenseman.
“I think everybody thought of him as a 1-2 and he really wasn’t. He was a little lower,” Trotz declared. “I think he had a patch during the one series where it wasn’t really good. I think he regained it and scored a big goal for us in Pitt. I just think the first playoff series wasn’t, that’s what you remember. It sticks out. But I think overall he was fine.”
Since the Rangers were already in town yesterday for tonight’s game and practiced at the Kettler Center, the media was able to get a response from Shattenkirk. Given the situation, he actually handled it well and spoke about how he can use the comments as motivation.
“It doesn’t sit well with you,” Shattenkirk said. “It’s nothing you enjoy hearing, but I think there’s a lot of people who probably think that about me. I like to use that in my favor and try to use that as something to just keep me boosted and prove people wrong.”
As this exchange is getting a fair amount of media coverage, it’s worth remembering that Shattenkirk doesn’t play on the top line for the New York Rangers. So while he has an extremely large four year contract worth $26.6 million and has scored 20 points so far this season, it appears as though Barry Trotz isn’t the only one who doesn’t think Shattenkirk is a 1-2.