NEW YORK — Rangers defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk will have surgery on his left knee and is expected to be out indefinitely.
The prized free-agent acquisition, who signed a four-year, $26.6 million deal to come to his hometown team, said Friday he has a meniscus tear in the knee that he has been playing through all season.
"It’s come to a point now where, looking at all the options trying to stick it out or make it through the season, with the way it’s kind of been going I think it’s the right time to get the surgery and handle it," Shattenkirk said. "Take care of it before it becomes something that we don’t want to do down the line, later in the season that will put me out of the crucial part of the season."
The 28-year-old said he had a cortisone shot before the season that helped for a while, and then a platelet-rich plasma injection during the team’s bye week earlier last week, but the knee didn’t respond to the latter the way he hoped. He will have surgery on Monday and expects to be back before the end of the season.
Shattenkirk has five goals and 18 assists in 43 games for the Rangers after totalling 13 goals and 43 assists over 80 games for St. Louis and Washington last season.
"(The injury) limits me off the ice as far as training … and I feel because of it my left leg is starting to get a lot weaker," he said. "And not allowing me to play my game and have the escapability and the explosiveness in my skating that anyone will tell you is a big part of my game. Recently it’s something that’s really been glaring."
Other than the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he has had at least 30 assists and 40 points every year — one of just 14 defencemen in NHL history to accomplish the feat in six of their first seven seasons.
The Rangers are also without defenceman Marc Staal and forwards Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider. Staal and Hayes are expected to skate Saturday and Sunday mornings, and coach Alain Vigneault said they could play Sunday at Los Angeles in the second game of a back-to-back.
Tony DeAngelo was called up from Hartford of the AHL. The young defenceman, acquired from Arizona in the off-season trade that sent centre Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta to the Coyotes, started the season in New York and had one assist in eight games. Forward Daniel Catenacci was also called up from the Wolf Pack.
The Rangers began the day tied with Pittsburgh for fourth in the Metropolitan Division and the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference. They currently hold the tiebreaker by having played two fewer games than the Penguins.
New York faces Colorado on Saturday to open a four-game trip heading into next weekend’s All-Star break.