Brendan Shanahan has decided that he will not play for the New Jersey Devils this season.
The 40-year old winger, who re-signed with the Devils for $1 million over the summer with the intention of playing a 22nd NHL campaign, released a statement on Thursday that said that he has reconsidered his plans for the coming season.
"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," said Shanahan in the statement. "I have great respect for Lou, Jacques, and the entire Devils' organization. This decision is both mutual and amicable."
Shanahan did not announce his retirement, however. He said that he will take a couple of weeks with his family to consider his plans for the future.
The Devils final roster includes youngsters Matt Halischuk, Niclas Bergfords, and Ilkka Pikkarainen, who along with newly-signed Rob Niedermayer combined to push Shanahan well down New Jersey's depth chart.
"This is certainly not easy from both sides because of the relationship," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told the Canadian Press. "The respect, the honesty, all of that has been put into this and these are the unfortunate things that do transpire."
With 656 goals, Shanahan ranks 11th on the all-time goal-scoring list. A three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Detroit Red Wings, Shanahan signed with the Devils as a free agent midway through last season, and returned to the team where he started his NHL career in 1987. In 34 games for New Jersey last year, Shanahan counted six goals and eight assists.
He re-signed for one year with the Devils as an unrestricted free agent on August 5.
Shanahan has also played for the St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, and New York Rangers. He was chosen with the second overall pick by the Devils in the 1987 draft.