It's New York, New York for Shanahan
It was a strange feeling watching as the New York Rangers cautiously approached free agency, with their only acquisitions of note having been Aaron Ward and Matt Cullen from the defending champs.
Bringing in Brendan Shanahan, however, constitutes a true return to form.
While 37, Shanahan was still one of the top forwards available this time around, but I was almost convinced he would re-sign with Detroit and close out his career a Red Wing — where he'd been since 1996.
That he's chosen to head for Broadway's bright lights for one last hurrah speaks to a number of things, one of them being Detroit's impending decline. Here's On the Wings:
I had read his shopping on the free agent market as nothing but a veteran taking his last chance to do so, and merely to see what kind of offers he could get. I guess I was in denial to what I've also been saying lately about the Wings: that I see no reason for anyone to want to sign with us other than for a lucrative contract. I don't see the Wings getting past the second round of the playoffs next season, and that Shanahan and Yzerman are both gone in a matter of days makes this only more likely.Make no mistake, Shanahan's a big loss (or a big gain, if you're on the Rangers side). The old-timer had a 40-goal season in 2005-06, and his best point totals since 1996-97. Playing on Jaromir Jagr's left wing is certainly going to make the New York power play even more dangerous than it was last year (8th).
I don't blame Shanahan at all for leaving, as this is the first off-season as a fan where I actually have said I wouldn't even sign with the Wings, outside the fan perspective.
I'd thought Detroit's line-up had looked decent enough with Shanahan's return, but now they're looking as thin upfront as I can remember in recent history (Detroit fans, feel free to correct any mistakes here):
Holmstrom - Zetterberg - SamuelssonNow, Hudler's clearly ready for a step up after his season in the minors last year, but from the looks of this list here, Detroit's still going to be banking on two more 60-point campaigns from Holmstrom and Williams. With questions still surrounding who will play goal in Motown this season, you really wonder if this is the year Nashville makes a move for the Central Division title.
Lang - Datsyuk - Williams
Maltby - Draper - Franzen
Filppula - Hudler - Cleary
As for the Rangers, things look rather rosy — at least on the top two lines — with Shanahan slotted in:
Straka - Nylander - Jagr
Shanahan - Cullen - Prucha
Hossa - Betts - Ward
Hollweg - Moore - Ortmeyer