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Brendan Shanahan agrees to join Devils

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Shanahan amassed 88 goals and 126 assists in 281 appearances as a Devil from 1987 to 1991. –
Brendan Shanahan is a New Jersey Devil once again.

Devils President, General Manager and CEO Lou Lamoriello announced Saturday that the former Devil and three-time Stanley Cup champion has agreed in principle to return to the club that drafted him second overall in 1987.

Shanahan has not yet signed a contract, which Lamoriello said will be worked out, "in the next couple of days."

There is no timetable set for when Shanahan will see his first game action this season, but he is expected to be more than just a power-play specialist. Lamoriello confirmed that Shanahan will be skating on his own in the meantime.

Shanahan and Martin Brodeur were teammates for Team Canada's gold medal victory at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
"In our minds, Brendan can be a full-time player," Lamoriello said in Saturday's conference call. "It's no different than any other player. They determine the ice time that they get, and the coaches determine how much they're used within how the games go. He's not being signed just to play on power plays, or just to play [on penalty kills]. We feel he can come and help this team be better and have more success."

Shanahan, who turns 40 on Jan. 23, is one of the top snipers in NHL history. His 650 career goals rank 11th on the league's all-time list, and his 1340 career points are 24th.

He collected 23 goals – 11 on the power play – and 23 assists in 73 games last season with the New York Rangers, but has not played in 2008-09.

The hope is that Shanahan will add some scoring punch to a Devils team that has been shut out in three of its last nine contests. New Jersey was set to begin a six-game road trip Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings. The club currently sits third in the Atlantic Division, four points behind first-place Philadelphia.

The move to bring back Shanahan wasn't based solely on the Devils' recent struggles, however. Lamoriello indicated his goal was to improve New Jersey's 20th-ranked power play (16.4%).

"I don't think you ever make a decision [based] on one or two games, or even three games," Lamoriello said. "I think the overall specialty teams' success – or lack of success – at a given time, in my mind, was the impetus to coming to this conclusion."

Shanahan was a member of the Detroit Red Wings' Stanley Cup runs in 1997, 1998 and 2002. Ranked 13th in league history with 1,490 games played, Shanahan's two decades in the NHL have also included stops with St. Louis and Hartford.

The native of Mimico, Ontario, has been a dynamic point producer in the postseason, as well, notching 59 career playoff goals and 131 points in 177 appearances.

An eight-time All-Star, Shanahan joins Scott Clemmensen, Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston as one-time Devils on the current roster that returned to New Jersey for '08-09.
Shanahan's Devils totals included 281 games from 1987-1991 in which he totalled 88 goals and 126 assists for 214 points. He chipped in two goals and an assist during the team's first-ever playoff run in 1988, and finished his first stint in New Jersey with eight goals and nine assists over 25 postseason games.

Shanahan left the Devils to sign as a free agent with the Blues on July 25, 1991, a move that resulted in Hall-of-Fame defenseman Scott Stevens arriving in New Jersey as compensation.

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