One of the more difficult decisions that Bryan Murray has to make this season is whether or not to re-sign UFA Ryan Shannon. Although Shannon had a good season -- he posted career highs in goals, assists, and points -- an influx of youth is threatening to take his roster spot away. Right now, the Senators already have nine forwards signed to one-way deals, and Bobby Butler will almost certainly make it 10 in the coming weeks. Toss in the player drafted at sixth overall and the multitude of players vying for a spot on the team, is there room for Shannon? Bryan Murray recently said he'll talk to Shannon's agent about keeping him as he's a "very useful player and a great team guy", but also noted that there are a couple of kids who could take his spot.
#26 / Right Wing / Ottawa Senators
Mar 02, 1983
|2010 - Ryan Shannon||79||11||16||27||3||24||5||1||1||118|
Contract status: Shannon is an unrestricted free agent who was on a $625,000, one-way contract last season.
Season in review: Shannon got off to a decent start to the season before having a mediocre middle few months. However, he turned it on in the last couple of months when injuries and trades gave him a bigger role in the top six (all five of his powerplay goals came after February 14th). His ability to play in both the bottom and top-six proved very helpful for a team with as many injuries and changes as Ottawa. He finished seventh on the team in points, and was the only Ottawa Senator to play more than 30 games and have a plus/minus above 0.
Comparable players: It's hard to find players that are comparable to Shannon in the league because there are so few players that are as small as Shannon that aren't young, offensive dynamos (like Nathan Gerbe or Tyler Ennis). Therefore, I tried to find players that were in their mid-to-late 20s, 6'0" or under, and who put up similar point totals.
#10 / Center / Pittsburgh Penguins
Feb 04, 1985
|2010 - Mark Letestu||64||14||13||27||4||13||4||0||3||128|
Letestu might be the best comparable for Shannon. He's under 6'0", only a couple years younger, and posted near identical point totals without having a role as an enforcer (which can increase a player's payday). Letestu just signed his first one-way deal with the Penguins, and it's a two-year contract with a $625,000 cap hit.
#17 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
May 01, 1984
|2010 - Patrick Eaves||63||13||7||20||-2||14||2||1||1||108|
Remember this guy? This former Senator is certainly a different player than Shannon (and a few inches taller), but he actually provides a pretty decent comparison. His point totals are similar and he is not, by any means, an overly physical presence. Eaves' contract last year was a one-way, one-year deal worth $750,000.
#20 / Center / San Jose Sharks
May 16, 1983
|2010 - Kyle Wellwood||35||5||8||13||10||0||0||0||0||50|
Wellwood offers a pretty good comparison for Shannon. He's an undersized forward of the same age who never seems to be able to find his role -- not good enough for top six, not big enough for bottom six. He posted nearly identical numbers to Shannon in 2008-09, then earned $1.2M in 2009-10 and again posted similar numbers to Shannon. He then headed off to Russia that offseason, and when he returned to North America, he earned $650,000 as a member of the Sharks.
If Shannon is to get re-signed by the Ottawa Senators, it's likely to be somewhere between $650,000 and $850,000 (or, at least, that's what it should be, if Bryan Murray wasn't doing the signing) and on a short term contract of one or two years. The biggest question is not what the dollars will be, but whether Shannon is signed at all. The Senators are really pushing for a youth movement, and Shannon might be a casualty of that. I'd love to see him back as I am a big fan of Shannon's high hockey IQ and his versatility, but it wouldn't be a huge shock if the Senators decide they don't have room for him anymore.