ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 12: Ryan Shannon #22 of the Tampa Bay Lightning takes a shot on goal against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on November 12, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
With NHL free agency more than a month away, it shouldn't be too puzzling why a player would sign overseas this early (read: NHL CBA negotiations and uncertainty of the future / complications that may arise from it). But with lackluster numbers to coincide his limited play, playing in Europe is another avenue for Shannon to rehabilitate his value. The length of the deal provides stability for him and his family.
So, Ryan signed with the ZSC Lions of the Swiss-A national league. The deal is reportedly a three-year engagement (and it is official per the Lions own website). What they're getting is a speedy forward who put up 12 points (4 goals and 8 assists) in 45 games this season for the Lightning. When Shannon was signed last off-season as an unrestricted free agent, he projected to replace Sean Bergenheim on the third line with the Lightning, and possibly see playing time among the top six forwards.
But with a glut of mid-level players to begin the season, Ryan was playing musical-chairs for ice-time with Mattias Ritola, Tom Pyatt, and Blair Jones also vying to be on the game day roster. But even as that glut of players gave way via waiving, demotion, and trade, Shannon still didn't start clicking offensively where and when he played.