Kevin Shattenkirk
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers might be rebuilding, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be excited about a familiar face in Kevin Shattenkirk returning from injury.

  • New York Rangers (30-31-6, 66 points) 
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (46-17-4 96 points)
  • Venue: Amalie Arena
  • Television: MSG Networks

New York Rangers’ defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is getting closer to returning to the lineup.

The Rangers won’t have a lot of time to practice over the next few weeks so it is out of the question that you will see Shattenkirk over the next four games. The next time that the team has multiple days off is March 15 and 16, so anything after that seems like a logical return date for the 29-year-old defenseman.

Shattenkirk has missed 21 games with a knee injury. During that stretch, the Rangers have gone 6-14-1 (13 points) ultimately deciding to become sellers at this season’s trade deadline.

He will return to defense core much different than one that he started the season with Brendan Smith now in Hartford and Ryan McDonagh traded to Tampa Bay.

Facing Off Against Former Teammates

This marks the first time since the Rangers made the blockbuster trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning that the two teams will faceoff. In that deal, the Rangers sent McDonagh and J.T. Miller to Tampa, receiving Vladislav Namestnikov along with prospects and draft picks.

McDonagh has yet to play with the Lightning and it does not look like he will make his debut against the Rangers Thursday night. McDonagh could face off against his former team when Tampa comes to New York March 30.

For Miller, he has gotten off to a hot start with the Lightning. He has recorded a point in three out of his four games with Tampa with two goals and three assists.

Namestnikov hasn’t had the same offensive production that Miller has had, but he has been nothing but impressive for the Rangers. Since the trade Namestnikov has scored a goal and an assist (in his debut) while playing steady defensive hockey.

Other Rangers News

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  • I name three stars from last week’s action.
  • Blueshirt Banter’s Joe Fortunato says that the Rangers have a decision to make at center.
Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.