Tom Gulitti had reported the signing early this morning - like 5:26 AM early - and now he has quotes and contract terms about the deal itself. It's a one year deal and for $1 million, which isn't too bad cap-wise. The Devils still have about $5 million free and the contract's off the books next July anyway. Big thanks to Puznik11 for putting up this FanPost alerting people to the signings. (As far as why I'm late with this, all I'll say is that the NY Red Bulls were re-defining awful right before my eyes.)
As you would expect, and also reported by Gulitti, Shanahan is happy with the contract. And why not? As far as why it took this long to get this deal done, timing was one of the issues. Another was making sure Lou, new head coach Jacques Lemaire, and Shanahan were all on the same page with respect to his role. Shanahan explained it all to Gulitti earlier this afternoon, here are the key quotes:
"Obviously, there were a lot of unanswered questions in early July with the coaching change and things like that, so one of the things that Lou and I had spoken about at the time was that I would be more comfortable and I think he agreed that we should wait until a coach is named and I had an opportunity to meet with that coach and he meet with me so that we were both comfortable moving forward. So, he wasn't inheriting a player and I wasn't inheriting a coach. We were making a decision to work together. So, we wanted to wait for that as well."
"It's one thing to say I'll play any role, but it's another to do it and also to do it well," he said. "I think I've shown over my career, especially last year, that I will enthusiastically embrace any role that's given to me, especially if I feel it's helping the team. I think that I have more to give as a player and that I'll help this team. Whatever it is they need, I feel like I can play hockey many different ways."
"I enjoy the enthusiasm of the young players. When I first started I had some veteran players that were really helpful to me. But I'm not coming back for that reason alone. I'm not coming back just to be a mentor. I'm coming back because I feel like I'm a good NHL player and I'm going to have a big impact on this team next year."
This really spells out the whole situation for Shanahan. At this stage of his career, providing his experience and insight for the younger Devils is an invaluable role. Of course, he's not getting paid for that alone. He's getting paid to play hockey. Shanahan did tell Gulitti that having training camp will help him and I can't help but agree. Training camp and preseason are important for players to really get ready for the season and at times you could tell the "rust" showed up when he joined the Devils in the middle of their 2008-09 season.
|2008 - Brendan Shanahan||34||6||8||14||-2||29||2||0||1||0||77||7.8|
As far as what his role will be on the ice, I would expect him to play limited minutes on the bottom two lines as a winger. I would also think that Shanahan will be included on the power play, likely on the second unit to assist on the offense. He's not going to be an impact player. He's not going to be a goal scoring machine. I don't even expect him to play all 82 games, really; getting 40-50 games in a rotated forward role wouldn't surprise me at all.
But I do think he could contribute more on-ice than he did last season if only because he'll be with the Devils right from the start of the season. I would expect him to get around 10 goals and around 20-25 points from a fourth line/special teams specialist role should he play most of next season. If he can do that, along with being a mentor in the locker room and in practice, that would be money well spent. If not, well, scratch him and the money's off the books next July anyway. I doubt he'll flounder, despite his age. Overall, I like the signing. I did say earlier I wouldn't mind another season of Shanahan in Devils red, even though it could mean less ice time for one of those younger Devils he would mentor.
Perhaps you may disagree or agree with my expectations for Shanahan. Feel free to discuss that in the comments. Also feel free to discuss the signing in general. Do you think this will be the last free agent signing the Devils do before training camp? Or do you expect Lou to sign a few more players? At the least, please vote as to whether you like the signing or not.