The Ottawa Senators signed right winger Ryan Shannon to a one year contract valued at $600,000 yesterday.
Most importantly for Shannon, the contract is a one-way deal, meaning that Shannon would be paid fully even if the team were to send him back down to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
At 26 years of age, Shannon performed well for the Senators after being called up from Binghamton by new coach Cory Clouston in the beginning of February. As Shannon's minor league coach, Clouston was familiar with the speed and energy that Shannon brings to the rink.
Shannon scored 8 goals and 12 assists in 35 games with the Senators and established himself as a top-six forward.
Shannon honed his skills at Boston College, where he played four seasons before being drafted by Brian Burke of the Anaheim Ducks. Playing the 2005-2006 season for Anaheim's AHL squad in Portland, Shannon was named to the AHL all-star team and won the contest as the league's fastest skater.
Shannon's first taste of NHL play came with the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-2007, where he recorded 11 points in 53 regular season games before helping the Ducks in the playoffs, as the team went on to win their first and only Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, Shannon was not called upon to play against the Senators in the finals.
Shannon was subsequently traded to the Vancouver Canucks, where he appeared in 27 games in 2007-2008, recording 13 points.
Ottawa Senators' General Manager Bryan Murray acquired Shannon from Vancouver in a trade for defenseman Lawrence Nycholat.
Shannon played well for the Binghamton Senators this season, and was called up to play in Ottawa as soon as Binghamton coach Cory Clouston was promoted to replace the fired Craig Hartsburg.
Shannon seemed to be a good fit with the uptempo style adopted by Clouston. He replaced Antoine Vermette (traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for goalie Pascal Leclaire) as the team's fastest skater. Shannon has clicked on a line with Nick Foligno, and has also at times played well alongside Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.
In offering Shannon a one-way contract, G.M. Bryan Murray has expressed his faith in Shannon's ability to play at the NHL level despite his small stature.
At the same time, Murray restricted the contract to one year in duration, perhaps due to an expected reduction in the salary cap for the 2010-2011 season. Murray has also agreed to recent long-term deals with Spezza, Heatley, and Fisher only to see them all have sub-par seasons in 2008-2009.
"The fact that he can skate and that he's smart allows him to get special teams ice time. That adds a lot to the flexibility the coach has," Murray noted.
Shannon's off-season development will get a boost as he has been invited to play for the U.S. team at the upcoming World Championships in Berne, Switzerland. Shannon was selected to the team by Brian Burke, his former G.M. in Anaheim.
Shannon's speed and skill are well-suited to the larger European ice surfaces. He will be joined on Team USA by linemate Nick Foligno.
Both Foligno and Shannon are expected to play substantial roles for the Senators in the upcoming season.