Tom Gulitti is reporting that Brendan Shanahan is no longer with the New Jersey Devils.
Shortly after putting Ilkka Pikkarainen on Injured Reserve to cut their roster to the required 23 players, the Devils opened up one additional roster spot today when Shanahan decided he did not want to continue with the team.
It seems, according to Shanny, that he agreed with Lou Lamoriello and Jacques Lemaire that if he didn't like his role on the team, he could back out. And, because the Devils wanted to play their youngsters more often, Shanahan would be relegated to fourth-line duty.
Shanny didn't want that, so he was cut.
There are a few options remaining for the ancient forward.
He could still be traded as of now—as he is still technically on the roster—or he can be waived. Lamoriello also said he could accept a position within the organization, according to Rich Chere. Regardless, he will be off the roster soon enough, and his $1 million contract won't count against the salary cap.
I don't mind this too much.
It's a surprise, and I'd prefer to have Shanny than not, but it's not a major deal. Shanahan has slowed with age, and would only have been a fourth-liner anyway. A nice addition to that line, but not a player critical to the team's success.
If Shanny decides to change his mind and return, or stay with the team in some other capacity (a la Tommy Albelin), that would be fine with me. If not, it doesn't really matter.
This will allow one more rookie to make the team, albeit only until Pikkarainen and Patrik Elias return from injuries. That's probably a good thing in the end.
This is the second time this offseason that the Devils have seen someone back out of a contract. A few months ago, head coach Brent Sutter walked out on the team to be with his family...then he reneged on that idea instantly to coach the Calgary Flames.
I was furious about Sutter.
First, for backing out of a contract. And then, for showing his ulterior motive.
But I'm not upset about Shanahan.
First of all, he apparently had a verbal agreement in place with the team about his role. Second, he's not lying to the team about missing his family, only to accept a job elsewhere.
But mostly, it's just that he's not so important to the team. He's a fourth-liner, not a head coach.
So best of luck to Shanny, and who knows—maybe we'll see you again soon.
UPDATE: Apparently, it was Lamoriello and Lemaire who initiated the decision to cut Shanahan, and Shanny agreed. Shanny did NOT back out of his contract.