I've been asked a lot of questions since first posting the news this morning that the Devils had let Brendan Shanahan go. I tried to address all of them either in the posts or the comments sections below, but that information is spread out, so I thought it would helpful to put it all in one place.
Hopefully, this was all of them.
Was Shanahan cut or did he leave the team? Shanahan is still on the Devils' roster, so, technically, he has not been cut. It's clear, however, that Shanahan was at least urged out the door when Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Jacques Lemaire told him during their Wednesday meeting that there was no room for him on the top three lines and that they intended to go with younger players. Shanahan is 40. Although Lamoriello would not discuss whether he wanted Shanahan to stay as a fourth-liner, a source told me today that Shanahan was no interested in a fourth line role.
If Shanahan is still on the roster, does his $1 million salary count against the Devils' salary cap? Yes. As Lamoriello said, today, if a player is on the roster, his salary counts against the cap.
Is Shanahan being paid? Lamoriello did not want to discuss this. There apparently is some way the Devils would not have to pay him, but I don't know for sure. Because the regular season begins today, I believe this was the first day players began being paid their NHL salaries
When will Shanahan be removed from the roster? Lamoriello said that would probably happen when Illka Pikkarainen is ready to come off injured reserve.
Does Shanahan have to be placed on waivers to come off the roster? Lamoriello said, "not necessarily." He said there are "several options," but would not discuss what they are. A trade is one, but it might be difficult to find a team willing to take Shanahan's $1 million salary. The Devils could place Shanahan on waivers and not send him down afterward to see if anyone is interested in picking him up. It's unlikely they'll send him down, however, unless they decide to do him a favor by quickly putting him on re-entry waivers (Dallas did that with Sean Avery last season). The Devils would have to pay half of his salary if another team claimed him off re-entry waivers and, at $500,000, it would be more likely that another team would want him. The Devils have the cap room to do it and might be willing to for Shanahan because of the strong feelings Lamoriello has repeatedly expressed.
Will Shanahan retire? That's unknown right now. In his statement, Shanahan said, "I am planning to spend the next couple of weeks with my family to reflect on and evaulate my plans for the future."
Why did Shanahan play on the top line with Travis Zajac and Zach Parise and even wear the 'C' that night if the Devils didn't think he could play on their top three lines? They were trying to find that out for sure and they believed he could do it. After the preseason, they believe that they will be better off using younger players such as Niclas Bergfors, Matt Halischuk and Ilkka Pikkarainen in those situations instead. Lamoriello did say this summer that Pikkarainen was signed to play on the top three lines. We'll see how that works out.
Who will be the healthy scratches on opening night? Friday's practice might provide some clues or maybe Lemaire will just give out that information afterward (I wouldn't count on it). LW Jay Pandolfo and Halischuk were the fifth line players today, but Pikkarainen, who is on IR, was skating on the third line with Rob Niedermayer and David Clarkson. It is also possible that Pikkarainen could be activated for Saturday's game because the move to put him on IR was made retroactively to the Sept. 16 preseason game against the Rangers.
Did I miss anything?