I've been over it on paper again and again, and I keep coming to the same conclusion: Ryan Shannon is not going to crack this Ottawa Senators lineup.
Basically it comes down to six guys fighting to be on the fourth line:
Nick Foligno (a lock to make the team, possibly on a scoring line)
Jesse Winchester (also a lock)
Zack Smith (has shown he can play)
Ryan Shannon (had a down year but is cheap)
Bobby Butler (the wild card)
Roman Wick (even wilder)
If Bryan Murray decides to keep a 13th forward this year, then Shannon, a Stanley Cup winner, has a chance to stick around. After all, the guy will make a measly 625 grand on a one way deal, a huge boost to his chances on a team close to the cap. Yet Murray went out and got Butler for a reason. He was forced to pay him close to a million dollars on a one year, two-way deal after a competitive bidding process, and that's significantly more than Shannon, Winchester and Smith will make in the NHL this season. In one way, that hurts Butler's chances, but it also shows that Murray believes in him and wants him to be an impact player. You can't make an impact if you're playing in the AHL.
Even if Butler doesn't follow up a strong rookie camp with an equally impressive main camp, there's still Zack Smith in Shannon's way. Smith is a prototypical grinding fourth liner as opposed to Shannon, who is a guy who should be in an offensive role. Yet, there's no chance Shannon climbs over both youngsters Foligno and Peter Regin, let alone Milan Michalek for one of those top six spots.
It's hard to conceive how Murray won't opt for youth knowing that Shannon is a UFA after this season anyways. You could argue Shannon was only brought into the organization because of a major lack of talented youngsters coming up the pipeline. Now that those youngsters have arrived, is Shannon even relevant anymore?
Shannon is still a good player and can certainly help another team in the NHL. But it doesn't make sense to keep him in Ottawa if players like Smith, Butler and Wick are ready. We already know Smith is capable. Butler looks close.
I don't see Shannon surviving training camp. Maybe he'll prove me wrong.
It struck me as poetic justice that Marian Hossa raised his first Stanley Cup this past season after going to the finals three years in a row, while Pat Quinn saw his long coaching career come to an end in a disastrous season in Edmonton.
It's hard to forget the way Quinn viciously went after Hossa in the media after the unfortunate accident that caused Bryan Berard to be blinded in one eye near the end of the 99-00 season. Quinn seemed to insinuate that Hossa was a careless player and even repeated that claim years later after Berard had not only resumed his career, but had publicly forgiven Hossa for the unfortunate accident.
Both Hossa and Berard conducted themselves with class after a devastating situation, something that could not be said for Quinn in the days and years that followed.
Sometimes, the good guys do win in the end.