April 22, 2016

Darryl Shannon

Brothers Darryl and Darrin Shannon both played for the Buffalo Sabres, though not at the same time.

Darryl, the older of the two, was a star defenseman with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. He scored an impressive 83 points in just 60 games in his final year in juniors in 1987-88. He led the team to a 12-0 perfect record in the OHL playoffs, but fell just short of winning junior hockey's Memorial Cup.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were ecstatic with Shannon's season. They drafted the puck-moving rearguard in the second round back in 1986. They would turn Shannon pro in 1988-89, but he would never be able to catch on with the Leafs. From 1988 to 1993 Shannon spent most of his time playing with Leafs' minor league affiliates. Injuries plagued Shannon as well. He never seemed to put together a full season, which really harmed his development at this crucial stage of his career.

Released by the Leafs in 1993, Shannon signed with the Winnipeg Jets as a free agent. The opportunity to play with his brother was the biggest selling point for the Jets. Darryl found some stability and a NHL home on the Winnipeg blue line. He would play parts of 3 seasons in the cold city.

The Jets traded Darryl and Michal Grosek to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for veteran playoff warrior Craig Muni in February of 1996. Darryl would enjoy his best seasons in Buffalo. He remained very healthy over the next 3 and 1/2 seasons, and put up impressive +/- statistics. His lack of skating speed prevented him from becoming a scoring star like in junior hockey, but in Buffalo he proved to be a steady NHL defender.

Shannon ended his career in Buffalo disappointingly. The arrival of defenseman Rhett Warener saw Shannon become the odd man out during the 1998-99 playoff drive which saw the Sabres come so close to capturing their first Stanley Cup. He was exposed in the summer's expansion draft and was selected by the Atlanta Thrashers. He would also see short stints with the Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Germany's Krisfeld Penguins before retiring in 2003.

It took a while, but Darryl Shannon proved he was a capable NHL player. He appeared in 544 NHL games, scoring 28 goals and 111 assists. He added 11 points in 29 playoff games

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