There’s lots of love going around for Ryan Shannon and Curtis McElhinney now that both have thrived with increased responsibilities and ice-time.
Shannon’s ascension to the second line pivot spot wasn’t an immediate one. Having already dealt Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly a few weeks earlier, Peter Regin was given first dibs. However, once Peter Regin suffered a shoulder injury on February 19th against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Senators needed someone to fill their second line pivot spot. And having played some center in college and in the minors, the Senators turned to Shannon almost out of necessity. In the 12 games that have followed Regin’s injury, Shannon has posted 3 goals and 6 assists.
In McElhinney’s case, after being claimed on waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa represented the fourth NHL team that he has played for in the past four seasons. Isn’t it a tad ironic that the Senators goaltending situation seems to be resolved with Craig Anderson and McElhinney – two goaltenders who haven’t been able to find stable homes of their own. To his credit, he’s put up some ridiculous numbers through 157 minutes — 2-1-0, 1.52 GAA, and a save percentage of .953%.
Together they’ve posted some decent numbers but is it worthy of the buzz that he’s generating amongst the local beatwriters? I don’t think so. It reminds me of the attention that those remotely attractive female curlers at the Brier receive. Have they played well? Sure, but like these female curlers, let’s not overstate things and get ahead of ourselves. We’re talking about somethings that look great by proxy.
This isn’t designed to take anything away from what Shannon or McElhinney have done. Both have played well and as inexpensive players who have exhibited some moderate skill, the two should be considered as cost effective stopgap players for next season.
Although the organization has gone on record as saying that this year’s lottery pick will play next season, there’s no certainty that whomever they wind up taking will be ready to step in next season. By re-signing Shannon, at least it would afford whomever they would draft a year of development. (Obviously I’m writing this under the assumption that Ottawa will not draft Adam Larsson.) Similarly, Robin Lehner hasn’t played as frequently as many Senators fans would have hoped. So by offering McElhinney a one-year deal, the organization could afford Lehner the opportunity to play and develop in Binghamton.
Provided that the organization ignores the pleas of fans and acts in the best interests of its prospects, these are two affordable players that I would seriously consider retaining.