Newly acquired Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk landed quickly on his feet.
Shortly being bought out of the final three years of his contract with his hometown Rangers, the veteran defenseman found a home with Tampa Bay.
"…it's very reassuring to go almost 24 hours later and get a lot of phone calls, a lot of interest from teams, and obviously Tampa being one of them," Shattenkirk said via a conference call with the media. "As a player going through that, it obviously gives you a bit of a confidence boost when you get that much attention in such a short period of time."
A confidence boost will be key for Shattenkirk after suffering an injury early in his Rangers career that reduced his All-Star caliber play.
Shattenkirk landed in Washington at the trade deadline in 2017 and then signed a four-year contract with the Blue Shirts the following offseason. Due in large part to injuries, Shattenkirk had a down year in 2018-19, ultimately leading the Rangers to buyout the remainder of his contract.
Confident that the struggles caused by a knee injury suffered last year are behind him, Shattenkirk is eager to get back to the offensive presence on the blueline that he was before joining the Rangers.
"For me, it's just a matter of gaining that respect again on the ice from other teams and my opponents," Shattenkirk said. "Feel like I'm more of a threat like I used to be, jumping in the rush more and adding offense... I know where my strengths are and playing for Tampa Bay allows me to play to my strengths as best that I can."
Down the stretch last season Shattenkirk's game began to round into form and a full summer of training free from medical restrictions will help when training camp opens next month.
"Once I got halfway through the season I started to realize that I was feeling good again," Shattenkirk said. "I'm really excited that I was able to come into this summer and be able to go into the weight room and not worry about any injuries, not worry about any rehab, and be able to just completely power through training and get as strong and as physically fit as possible."
For the Bolts, signing Shattenkirk helps round out the D-corps heading into the season. Tampa Bay now has four lefthanded and four righthanded defensemen as well as plenty of power play experience to give head coach Jon Cooper plenty of options.
"I really like our mix," Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said via conference call. "I think by adding Kevin to the group, it just gives Coop and the rest of our staff all the more options to start the season."
Signing Shattenkirk also gives the Lightning some insurance if injuries are to pop up throughout the season. Instead of having to give up draft picks or prospects to make a trade for a defenseman during the season, it made more sense for BriseBois to add Shattenkirk now when he didn't have to give up those pieces.