This is the first of a bi-weekly segment entitled POINT-COUNTERPOINT: a SenShot Deba..."/> This is the first of a bi-weekly segment entitled POINT-COUNTERPOINT: a SenShot Deba..."/>

POINT-COUNTERPOINT: A SenShot Debate

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This is the first of a bi-weekly segment entitled POINT-COUNTERPOINT: a SenShot Debate, where two writers from SENSHOT will take an issue affecting the Senators and debate it by each one taking a different side.  It will then be put to you, the readers, to decide between them, and cast your vote about who is right.

COUNTERPOINT:  THE OTTAWA SENATORS SHOULD RE-SIGN RYAN SHANNON

(source: senstown.com)

Since the destruction and rebuild of the Senators began, the key beneficiary of the increased ice time available to him has been Ryan Shannon.  Prior to the trade deadline, nobody would have suggested that the Senators should bring him back next season.  However his play down the stretch has earned him  praise and a second look from fans and management alike for future Senators employment.

Shannon has put up career highs this season, with 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points.  He has 6-8-14 in his last 22 games, since he has been playing about 17 or 18 minutes per game. His emergence as a capable top six forward has been one of the lone bright spots this season.

I am of the opinion that between now and the start of next season, the Ottawa Senators should re-sign Shannon. To argue my point, let’s take a look at a few factors.

SHANNON

When you take a look at the player, what do you get? The 28yr old Shannon is a 5’9″, 171lbs centre who is the only Sen to play 75 games this year and be a plus player. Hitting career highs in goals, assists and points, Shannon is showing what he can do given more ice time and responsibility. An excellent penalty killer and intelligent player all around, Shannon is also one of the fastest players in the league. Never really given an opportunity as a top six forward, Shannon is proving to be a capable second line centre.

DEPTH CHART

Behind number one centre Jason Spezza, Ottawa has many centres that could be in the mix down the middle next season. Along with Shannon, there is Peter Regin, Zach Smith, Jesse Winchester, Jim O’Brien, Stephane Da Costa and even Nick Foligno. Out of all these players, Regin has the most potential to be a second line centre. However, Regin was given a chance this year to play top six minutes with skilled players and failed. Playing with Spezza, Alfredsson, Fisher and Kovalev, Regin failed to match the numbers he put up in his rookie campaign. Nobody right now (between current roster players and prospects) can be said to be a true second line centre in the organization.

WHERE TO PLAY HIM

Throughout his tenure in Ottawa, Shannon has been up and down the roster and sometimes in the press box. With Shannon’s size, playing him as a fourth line forward renders him ineffective. For Shannon to be effective, he needs to play as a top nine forward. Shannon has shown what he can do as a second line centre this season with less skilled players. With everyone healthy next season, I think Shannon should be given a chance with skilled players to see how he fares in that role. On the other hand, it’s not second line centre or bust for Shannon. I truly believe that Shannon would excel as a third line centre too. He has the intelligence to play a defensive game and the skills to lead a productive third line.

Check out this video of Shannon talking about his new role on the team and how he thinks he can succeed in this league. Video courtesy of SensTV.

THE REBUILD

With Ottawa rebuilding, will playing Shannon as a second line centre next year harm the development of our other centres. Considering we don’t have any true second line centres in our organization, Shannon will more likely protect them rather than harm them. Forcing players such as Regin to play above their skill level may harm them more than having them play less minutes while they learn the game.

FREE AGENTS

GM Byran Murray has gone on record as saying he would like to bring in a top six skilled forward in the off-season. Most likely this forward would push Shannon outside the top six. However, there is no guarantee that Murray can obtain this forward. With a weak free agent group, Murray might be pushed into overpaying for an aging veteran to come in a fill a top six spot. The last time he did this, it cost Ottawa $10 million dollars as Alex Kovalev slept walked through his two year contract. And with the few decent free agents available this summer, why would they want to come to Ottawa and be out of the playoff picture.

SALARY

With Shannon’s $625,000 salary this year, to resign him will not cost Ottawa an arm and a leg (but probably just a pinky). Shannon has limited options on the free agent market as his skills are more valuable to Ottawa than to other NHL teams. Therefore, Ottawa holds the upper hand in negotiations and will be able to sign Shannon to a contract for around $700,000 – $750,000 range on a one year deal.

THE UPSIDE

If Ottawa was to re-sign Shannon with the promise of giving him an opportunity to play top six minutes at the start of next season, I believe Shannon would come to camp in the fall stronger and faster and ready to excel. If Shannon were to add 10lbs to his frame, he would be in the mold of other small effective forwards such as Martin St. Louis and Danny Briere (with less skill obviously).

So Sens Army, what do you think?

Check out Jared’s point on why Ottawa should let Ryan Shannon walk in the summer.

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Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.

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