Who would you rather own in your fantasy hockey league – Kevin Shattenkirk or Ryan McDonagh?
This week's Cage Match examines Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan McDonough, two young blueliners who sat within the top 20 in defenseman scoring as of November 19. Will they continue their current points pace, and who will benefit your team more by season's end and beyond? You've come to the right place to find out – Cage Match starts now!
Career Path and Contract Status
These two US born defensemen have been compared to each other dating back to being grabbed with nearly consecutive selections (McDonagh 12th overall, Shattenkirk 14th) in the first round of the 2007 Entry Draft. Both players also followed a similar path to get to this point in their careers, having played college hockey and then getting less than a full year of AHL seasoning before landing in the NHL for good by 2011-12.
Shattenkirk had played in 32 more games than McDonagh (201 versus 169) prior to this season, mainly due to fewer AHL games. He also held an edge in career points per game, with 0.54 versus 0.355 for McDonagh, although if you go by just 2011-12 and 2012-13 it's a bit closer (0.49 versus 0.39).
Both players also were traded in deals that came back to bite their original teams, with Shattenkirk coming to the Blues with Chris Stewart as part of a trade that saw Erik Johnson go to Colorado (ouch!) and McDonagh being dealt to the Rangers from Montreal as a key piece of the – brace yourselves Habs fans – Scott Gomez trade (double ouch!).
Even their contract status is similar, as both are on the first season of a multi-year deal. And while McDonagh's is for six years, $28.2M and Shattenkirk's for four years, $17M, their per year salary averages are comparable.
Ice Time – Past Seasons and 2013-14 So Far
It will be interesting to see what effect (if any) there has been on McDonagh's Ice Time after the Rangers' offseason coaching change. Note that Shattenkirk's 2010-11 Ice Time stats (plus those below for Secondary Categories) are broken into two areas – "Colo" to represent the 46 games he played for the Avs, and "St. L." for his 26 with the Blues.