Kevin Shattenkirk was the gem of the trade deadline and was a name that surprised some people for even being available. After an uneven playoffs, he might be available at a reduced rate in free agency. Long-term, his play justifies him fielding multiple offers from teams this off-season. Should the Winnipeg Jets be one of the teams going after him?
First of all, the Jets need a Shattenkirk-like player on defence, but Shattenkirk might be the wrong fit because he is a right handed defenceman just like Jacob Trouba and Tobias Enstrom. However, Enstrom is getting older and will need to be replaced soon and while Trouba’s long term future is still uncertain after he demanded a trade last season and signed a two year bridge contract. All of a sudden Shattenkirk being a right shooting defenceman does not seem like such a big deal.
Shattenkirk would be an upgrade on Enstrom and arguably even with Trouba. Even if you consider the fact that Shattenkirk has not had many injuries in his career. His good health and ability to drive play would make him an ideal player for the Jets to target. And if they choose to target Shattenkirk and he chooses the Jets, the biggest beneficiary might end up being Enstrom who would be able to play a role that is suited for him instead of being asked to play a more offensive role. Furthermore, Shattenkirk is excellent on the penalty kill.
If the Jets do end up targeting Shattenkirk they will most likely have a lot of competition. Outside of Shattenkirk the top defencemen currently available for free agency is a list of players who are either old, bad, or old and bad. It is slim pickings. Of course, some of those names could leave that list following the expansion draft as teams can leave pending free agents unprotected and then sign them after the draft so they can keep more good players. Beyond that, Shattenkirk made $5.2 million last season with a cap hit of $4.25 million. How much of a raise will he want and can the Jets afford it?
Should the Jets look at signing Shattenkirk this offseason? If they should, what would you pay him?