The New Jersey Devils and veteran Brendan Shanahan announced Thursday that they have parted ways.
General manager Lou Lamoriello told the Newark Star-Ledger that the team cut the 40-year-old left-winger, but the decision was a mutual one that the two sides discussed.
"This is a mutual decision," Lamoriello said. "An amicable one. After today we'll make the decisions we have to make.
"Over the past couple of days Jacques [Lemaire] and I have had conversations. The unexpected has transpired. It's not that Brendan cannot play. It's that these [young] players have become something special at this time."
Lemaire said he was in the meeting when Lamoriello talked to Shanahan.
"If I knew it would have been like that, I don't know if I would have attended, because it's hard," Lemaire said. "I've seen a few in my career, and the good people, it's hard to come to this type of situation. Because they're good people and they were top players in the league at a time. So, it makes it a lot harder.
"I said, 'I'm glad you're the GM. You've got to make the decision, the final one," ' Lemaire added.
The move is believed to be motivated by the amount of rising young talent within the Devils organization — players such as Rod Pelley, Niclas Bergfors, Matt Halischuk and Ilkka Pikkarainen — may be considered by Lamoriello to be NHL-ready.
"Maybe Lou thought that they had a long chance to make the team," Lemaire said of the youngsters' chances at the start of training camp. "But these kids they've shown that they're ready to play."
Shanahan's $1-million US salary will count against the Devils' salary cap until he's removed from the team list, which Lamoriello hinted would be soon.
The Devils have the option of trading Shanahan, putting him on waivers or, Lamiorello suggested, the left-winger could accept a role within the organization.
Shanahan mum on future plans
Shanahan did not speak with the news media but instead issued a statement:
"I have decided not to continue with the New Jersey Devils for my 22nd NHL 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.
"I have great respect for Lou, Jacques and the entire Devils organization. This decision is both mutual and amicable. I am planning to spend the next couple of weeks with my family to reflect on and evaluate my plans for the future. Most importantly, I would like to thank my former teammates and wish them the best of luck this season."
The Devils open their regular season on Saturday, when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.