|Shanahan had two points in preseason, including a goal vs. NYI on Tuesday. |
Brendan Shanahan and the Devils have parted ways, club President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello announced Thursday.
"I have decided not to continue with the New Jersey Devils for my 22nd NHL season," Shanahan said in a statement.
"When I signed this past summer, Lou Lamoriello, Jacques Lemaire, and I agreed that if we were unable to find a suitable fit in which I would be able to compete and contribute at the level I expect from myself, then I would simply step aside," the statement continued.
Lamoriello said the progress made by the organization's young players was a primary factor. The development of prospects such as Niclas Bergfors, Matt Halischuk and Ilkka Pikkarainen would have left a diminished role for Shanahan, who ranks 11th all-time in goals (656) and 23rd all-time in points (1,354).
Said Lamoriello: "Over the past several days, Brendan and I, as well as Jacques, have had conversations that the unexpected has transpired with the emergence of several of our young players at a level that, for them to go the minors, would not be in their best interest as progression, getting better, and as far as the team goes. So in saying that, that role then was not really available because what these young players have done. It's not that Brendan cannot play, it's that these players have become something special at this given time, and they have to be given that opportunity. Not all of them will be playing because we have four of them, but at least two of them will be playing."
Certain players have to play; they have to grow, and there's only one way of that happening: them being in the lineup. - Lou Lamoriello
The injury to Patrik Elias
brought about the acquisition of center Rob Niedermayer last week and further limited the Devils' options within the top nine forward positions.
"The decision was made with everyone on the same page, for the right reasons," Lamoriello said. "I think that Brendan's statement says it as well as you can say it from his view."
Shanahan, who re-signed with the team over the summer, had a goal in New Jersey's preseason finale against the Islanders on Tuesday and finished the exhibition schedule with two points (1g-1a). He joined the team last January, scoring six goals and eight assists in 34 games as the Devils captured the 2008-09 Atlantic Division title.
Jersey's Team opens the regular season at home against Philadelphia on Saturday.
"Certain players have to play, they have to grow," Lamoriello said. "And there's only way for that to happen, and that's for them to be in the lineup. Especially with what we have seen of them in training camp from Day One."
Shanahan's statement echoed that the split happened on good terms.
"I have great respect for Lou, Jacques and the entire Devils organization," he said. "The decision was both mutual and amicable."
Lamoriello would not rule out a possible return or a future role in the organization for the former Devils' draft pick.
"This was certainly not easy for either side because of the relationship, the respect, the honesty – all of that that has been put into this," Lamoriello said. "These are the unfortunate things that do transpire."
In the meantime, Shanahan will figure out his next move.
"I am planning to spend the next couple of weeks with my family to reflect on and evaluate my plans for the future," Shanahan's statement said. "Most importantly, I would like to thank my former teammates and wish them the best of luck for this season."