Mid Summer Report: New Jersey Devils

download (25)By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com
As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the New Jersey Devils

Last Season’s Finish:  38-36-8, 84 pts, 7th in the Metropolitan Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • F Beau Bennett (Trade)
  • F Taylor Hall (Trade)
  • D Ben Lovejoy (UFA)
  • F Vernon Fiddler (UFA)
  • F Luke Gazdic (UFA)
  • D Brandon Gormley (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • D Adam Larsson (Edmonton)
  • D David Schlemko (San Jose)
  • D David Warsofsky (Pittsburgh)
  • F Mike Sislo (Colorado)
  • F Jordin Tootoo (Chicago)
  • F Bobby Farnum (Montreal)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Pavel Zacha
  • F Miles Wood
  • D Steven Santini

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/14)

  • None

Current Cap Situation as of 8/14/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $60,461,307
  • Current salary cap space: $12,538,693

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Taylor Hall, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, Kyle Palmieri, Adam Henrique, Devante Smith Pelly, Vernon Fiddler, Jacob Josefson, Pavel Zacha, Sergey Kalinin, Beau Bennett, Reid Boucher, Luke Gazdic, Joseph Blandisi
Defensemen
Andy Greene, Ben Lovejoy, John Moore, Jon Merrill, Damon Severson, Steven Santini, Yohann Auvitu, Josh Jacobs
Goalies
Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid

 

Outlook:
New Jersey is one of the lowest budget teams in the NHL.  Not only are they carrying over $12 million in cap space, they are also using the injured reserve loophole to save even more.  Ryan Clowe and Marc Savard have almost $8.9 million combined cap hit.  Without those two players helping their cap situation, the Devils would be well below the $53 million salary floor.  On the ice, the Devils were the weakest offensive team in the NHL last season, scoring just 184 goals.  So, this summer, they set out to change that, and made a trade with Edmonton, who were themselves looking to upgrade their defense group.  The Devils traded defenseman Adam Larsson for forward Taylor Hall, which will accomplish that goal for the Devils.  It’s a start, but it will not be enough.  There is a serious lack of elite level talent on this team, and until they add another few elite level players, they will continue to struggle in the standings.  It looks like another year in the draft lottery for the Devils.