Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Senators Trade Nycholat To Canucks For Shannon

The Senators did make another deal as was bandied about in my last post, but it didn't exactly clear up any confusion on the forward ranks.

Lawrence Nycholat was dealt to the Canucks for diminutive forward Ryan Shannon, who had a tough time staying a regular in Vancouver last season, scoring 13 points in 27 games.

With Nycholat out of the picture, that improves Christoph Schubert's chances of playing on the blueline and opens up a little more room for Brendan Bell and newly acquired Alex Picard to possibly make the team as that elusive offensive defenseman.

As it stands now, assuming that Brian Lee will make the team, there is a three way race to fill that 6th spot on the blueline while others like Matt Carkner, Ben Blood and the unsigned but hopeful Luke Richardson are now almost completely out of the picture.

As for Shannon, he played 11 games with the Ducks during their successful Stanley Cup run in 2007 and is only 25 years old.

The Score Sports Forecaster describes Shannon:

"The fleet-footed, yet diminutive forward is an intelligent player who always needs to be one step ahead of bigger players or suffer the physical consequences. Good defensively, he buys himself ice time through hard work. That said, he's a depth player in Vancouver."

Sportsnet has this scouting report:

"Skates extremely well and owns excellent shiftiness. Has defensive polish and offensive upside. Can play either center or wing.

Is smallish even for the 'new' NHL. Must continue to work on his play without the puck in order to receive quality ice time at the highest level. "


This move does seem a little strange at the moment but it may just be setting up the departure of another forward or two. With Shannon in the fold, the forward depth chart is something like this (Keep in mind the Senators will only dress 12 forwards max.):

1. Alfredsson
2. Spezza
3. Heatley
4. Fisher
5. Vermette
6. Kelly
7. Neil
8. Ruutu
9. Donovan
10. McAmmond
11. Foligno
12. Bass
13. Shannon
15. Nikulin
16. Zubov
17. Regin
18. Hennessy

And that list doesn't include Schubert who may still be shifted to forward if one of Brendan Bell or Alex Picard has a great training camp. That makes this another 3-way race for one spot on forward behind Foligno at 11th. The two Russians and Peter Regin might as well skip training camp because there is no way they'll be able to find a spot, even with injuries.

That is depth and it bodes well for the Senators. But something tells me there is another forward headed out of town soon.


With the Chicago Blackhawks currently over the salary cap, is this finally the time that GM Bryan Murray takes a serious run at acquiring Nikolai Khabibulin?

Assuming Gerber went the other way (to cheapen the Hawks goaltending cap hit and to safely swap two soon to be unrestricted free agents), could Chicago use one of Ottawa's plethora of cheap forwards they now have under contract and in the same way keep both teams under the salary cap?

Hey, I'm no Eklund, but that move seems like a no-brainer to me.

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