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New Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Shannon excited to play with Marty St. Louis

TAMPA — To new Lightning forward Ryan Shannon, alternate captain Marty St. Louis has always been a role model.

Like St. Louis, Shannon is on the smaller side (5 feet 9, 175 pounds), went undrafted and works out with the same trainer in the summer in Darien, Conn.

"When I found out he was going to be training there, it was unbelievable," said Shannon, 28. "My heart stopped."

Shannon wore the same number (No. 26) as St. Louis last season with the Senators, but after signing a one-year, $625,000 free-agent deal this month, he was glad to defer to the reigning Hart Trophy finalist.

"I lost rock-paper-scissors with Marty," he joked. "So I'm ready to change (numbers)."

Shannon hopes to wear No. 22, which he had all through childhood (including on a 13-year-old pee wee team called the Tampa Bay Lightning). He had a trading card of him as a kid in the Lightning jersey for Friday's meet-and-greet with the local media.

"It kind of fits," he said.

Shannon will likely get an opportunity to compete for a spot among the top-six forwards in the Lightning lineup, but his versatility, speed and smarts would allow him fit in the bottom six as well, not to mention the penalty kill. With his fourth team in five seasons (having won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2006-07 season), Shannon is coming off a strong year with the Senators, racking up career highs with 11 goals and 27 points.

"I found my game," he said. "I'll fill whatever role the team sees fit. I've been a versatile forward so far in the league, whether it's playing big minutes or playing less minutes, just trying to make it work."

Shannon said once he found out the Lightning was interested, that became his first choice because of its style of play and the commitment of the organization.

"A lot of teams try to slow it down, but this plan is all about speed and puck possession," Shannon said of the Lightning style. "And that's where I flourish."

MALONE SURGERY: Wing Ryan Malone recently had arthroscopic right shoulder surgery to clean up scar tissue and bone fragments related to an injury suffered in the playoffs. General manager Steve Yzerman called the surgery minor. "He will be 100 percent very soon," Yzerman said.

Around the league

DRAPER MAY RETIRE: The Red Wings called a news conference with Kris Draper for today amid reports that the forward will retire. Draper, 40, helped Detroit win four Stanley Cups and was named the NHL's best defensive forward in 2004. But injuries limited him to 47 games and 11 points last season.

RANGERS: The team re-signed defenseman Steve Eminger, 27, who had two goals and four assists 65 games last season.

Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires. Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com

New Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Shannon excited to play with Marty St. Louis 07/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 25, 2011 8:58pm]
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