NEW YORK -- Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has dreamed of playing for the New York Rangers since he was a kid beginning to learn how to play the game. His dream came true Saturday, when he agreed to terms on a contract with the Rangers.
Shattenkirk said it is a four-year contract worth $6.65 million per season.
Shattenkirk is from New Rochelle, New York, which is approximately 20 miles from Madison Square Garden. He calls himself a "New Yorker at heart" in his Twitter bio. It's a big reason why he said he left some term and money on the table to sign with the Rangers.
"It's an opportunity that may only come once in my career, and I felt like this was my chance," Shattenkirk said. "It's a team I'm extremely excited about. A lot of the factors outside of money and term came into play, and that's ultimately what won the decision for me."
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Shattenkirk said despite talking to a number of teams in the past week, he didn't make his decision to sign with the Rangers until after the free agent market opened at noon ET.
"Until [Saturday] came and the final offers were coming in, that was when I had to decide, did I want to do this or not," Shattenkirk said. "Obviously, there were some sacrifices to be made, but in my mind those sacrifices are what you leave on the table to live out a dream like this.
"Really as much as it is a dream for me, it's exciting. I'm looking forward to joining a team that I think is capable of winning the Stanley Cup and that's also a lifelong dream of mine. To do it in a city that is dearest to me I think is the most exciting thing that I could offer myself as a player."
Video: Kevin Shattenkirk on joining the New York Rangers
That Shattenkirk decided to take the four-year contract made this a manageable contract for the Rangers. He likely had contract offers with longer term, including the maximum of seven years he could have received as an unrestricted free agent.
"You have to give credit to Kevin on this one," Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said. "Here's a player who really wanted to be here and left money on the table. It sent a pretty strong message to us. Seven-year deals, they're generally there. He might have got one. Thankfully for us, it's a situation that we have a player that wants to play for the Rangers, that's from here, that's an excellent player, and four years worked out for the both of us."
Shattenkirk, a right-handed defenseman, had 56 points (13 goals, 43 assists) in 80 games with the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues last season.
He had 11 goals and 42 points, including seven goals and 13 assists on the power play, in 61 games with the Blues before he was traded to the Capitals on Feb. 27. Shattenkirk had 14 points in 19 games with the Capitals and six points in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Shattenkirk has 298 points (68 goals, 230 assists) in 490 games with the Capitals, Blues and Colorado Avalanche.
He has scored at least 25 points on the power play in each of the past four seasons. The Rangers haven't had a defenseman with at least 25 points on the power play since 2001-02, when Brian Leetch had 26.
Video: Rangers outlook after signing Kevin Shattenkirk
"It's clear we feel he's a top-four defenseman in the League," Gorton said. "We feel we have very good left-hand defense that he could play with any one of them and have success. In particular Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei have done really well on the left side. Whatever way we go we think it's going to work out well for him, but we're obviously bringing him here to play him a lot."
Shattenkirk likely will get the first crack at being McDonagh's new partner on the top defense pair.
"Ryan McDonagh was a big part of my decision," said Shattenkirk, who joined McDonagh on the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. "He's someone who I think is an elite defenseman. He complements my game well. I'm looking forward to the possibility of playing with him and hopefully growing as a player myself.
"My goal is to come in here and be a phenomenal defenseman in all areas of the game. I think Ryan McDonagh is going to help me achieve that. That was a major part to me making this decision."
In addition to Shattenkirk and McDonagh, the Rangers' defensive depth chart has Skjei and Marc Staal on the left side, and Brendan Smith and Nick Holden, both lefties, playing on the right.
Skjei and Smith are the Rangers' second pair right now, with Staal and Holden the third.
New York also has righties Anthony DeAngelo, Steven Kampfer and Neal Pionk along with lefty Alexei Bereglazov. Kevin Klein also is still under contract for one more season. It's not clear if he will be on the roster though.
"No matter where you go, you're trying to win your team a Stanley Cup," Shattenkirk said. "There's no better place for me to do it then in New York."