Marty Brodeur - 20 Years Later!!

Written by Darren S. on .


Marty made his NHL debut 20 years ago today. That's right, on March 26, 1992 the Devils gave unknown goalie, Martin Brodeur his first start in the NHL. Chris Terreri and Craig Billington were hurt and the Devils had gone with Chad Erickson in net and Doug Dadswell as the backup in the prior game. Brodeur showed up at the rink for the game to find that while he was 5th on the depth chart, he would be getting the start in goal that night. I don't think I am alone in saying thank god they gave someone so low on the depth chart a shot.

Do you remember what you were doing when Marty made his debut? I was a junior in high school at the time but I can honestly say, I don't really remember his debut. Oh yea, he beat the Bruins 4-2 at then Brendan Bryne Arena in the Meadowlands!!

20 years is a long time!! Congrats Marty on a very LONG career.

 

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Devils in Desperate Need of a First Line Center

Written by Debra Harrington on .

Yesterday, Travis Zajac underwent surgery to repair his left Achilles tendon which he tore working out off ice. Although the surgery was a success, Zajac will require three months to recover. For a team that was already lacking at center, that is not good news.

In my opinion, the Devils already needed to acquire a first line center to play alongside Ilya Kovalchuk. As good as Kovalchuk is, he requires a playmaker who is able to skate quickly, feed him the puck and set him up to shoot his wicked one timer. Finding such a player has proven to be no easy task as it seems that top line centers are just about as difficult to come by as puck moving defensemen these days. Now, Zajac (the closest person on the Devils’ roster to be considered a top line center) won’t be able to become reacquainted on the ice with Zach Parise until November. This leaves the Devils in the unfortunate predicament of needing to find not one top line center but two…and quickly.

Stay tuned…as I hope there will be something to report regarding filling these vacancies soon!

 

(NOT SO) FUN FACT:

Travis Zajac holds the team record for consecutive games played with 401. That streak, inevitably, will be coming to an end on October 8th when the Devils open their season.

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By Signing a Contract with the Devils, Adam Larsson Exhibits his “Team First” Mentality

Written by Debra Harrington on .

Many people say that the drafting that takes place in pro sports is like a crap shoot…you never know what you’re going to get. Unless you’re the team with the number one drafting position, there’s no guarantee that the player a team wishes to pick is going to still be available when it’s that team’s turn to choose. Add to that the fact that neither the player nor the team ever really knows for sure whether or not they will be a good fit for each other until after they’ve spent a season or two together, and the act of drafting even one player could become way more trouble than it’s worth. This could be especially true for the top handful of draft picks in any given season. The top picks know that they’re exactly that – at the top of the draft class. They’ve been told for years by many people (coaches, scouts, teammates, family, the media and, of course, their agents) how exceptionally well they play their sport.  So it’s no big surprise that when the time comes for them to sign their first professional sports contract, they (and their agents) have some pretty big expectations regarding the bonus money they feel they deserve.

The Devils also have expectations when they offer entry level contracts to their players. Like just about every other team (the Rangers regarding Sean Avery notwithstanding) they expect the player to perform to his potential and conduct himself like a true professional. But the Devils also have a “team first” philosophy that they expect all of their players to subscribe to. Part of that philosophy, as described by Lou Lamoriello today, is that the organization does not provide any player with individual performance bonuses in entry level contracts. Incentivizing players to play more minutes or to score more goals than their teammates fosters competition among teammates and a “player first” (as opposed to “team first”) philosophy.

Despite Adam Larsson being drafted by the Devils fourth overall, his contract is no different. The Devils and Larsson reached a 3 year entry level deal shortly before Friday’s 5pm deadline (after which time, the Devils would have been required to pay $100,000 to Larsson’s team in the Swedish Elite League to extend the deadline until August 15th before Larsson would have had to play the upcoming season in Sweden if no deal had been reached by then). While Larsson will be earning the entry level maximum of $925,000 per season (including any signing and games played bonuses), his contract – just like all of the entry level contracts of his Devils teammates - does not include any individual performance based bonuses. It’s a two way deal, so Larsson could also play in the AHL this upcoming season and would earn the entry level maximum of $70,000 per season if he does so.

Lamoriello said that Larsson “is as mature as he can get at his age” while praising him for making the decision to forgo any performance bonuses in favor of not being different from any of his Devils teammates who have been given entry level contracts before him. It also demonstrates just how much Larsson wants to be a Devil. “I’m excited,” Larsson said. “This is what I wanted all the time, so I’m very happy for that. It’s like a dream come true.”

It would appear as if the entire experience of drafting Larsson has been a dream come true for both parties so far. First, Larsson was still available for the Devils to pick him fourth. Now, Larsson is willing to subscribe to the “team first” philosophy which is so important to the Devils. Of course the true test will come on the ice, where we will see if Larsson can live up to the hype that’s surrounded him for so long. Being the high roller and Devils fan that I am, I know where I’m putting my money. This match is already starting to feel like one made in heaven. (And, yes … my fingers and toes were crossed as I typed that last sentence).

 

FUN FACT:

The Devils’ refusal to provide individual performance based bonuses in entry level contracts is unusual compared to most of the NHL. The annual cap hit for the abovementioned contract signed by Adam Larsson is $925,000, and that includes the league maximum amount of salary for entry level contracts as well as a signing bonus. Any higher cap hit from an entry level contract would be due to individual performance bonuses. To get a perspective of the kind of money Larsson chose to forgo to play with the Devils, here is a list of the cap hits from some other recent entry level contracts signed by first round draft picks in recent years:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011: 1st overall by Edmonton) – 3 year entry level deal with a $3,775,000 million annual cap hit

Taylor Hall (2010: 1st overall by Edmonton) – 3 year entry level deal with a $3,750,000 million annual cap hit

Tyler Seguin (2010: 2nd overall by Boston) - 3 year entry level deal with a $3,550,000 million annual cap hit

Ryan Johansen (2010: 4th overall by Columbus) – 3 year entry level deal with a $1,945,000 million annual cap hit

Evander Kane (2009: 4th overall by Atlanta) – 3 year entry level deal with a $3,100,000 million annual cap hit

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Ex-Devil Brian Rafalski Announces Retirement

Written by Darren S. on .



We know Brian Rafalski chose to sign with the Detroit Red Wings over the New Jersey Devils back on July 1, 2007 but that doesn't change what he did while he was a member of the New Jersey Devils. The 37-year-old Dearborn, Mich. native won Stanley Cups with the Devils in 2000 and 2003 and then went on to help Detroit win another in 2008. 

Brian Rafalski has announced his retirement from the NHL. Rafalski had one season at $6 million left on the five-year, $30 million contract he signed with Detroit on July 1, 2007 but battled injuries all season long. According to reports, Rafalski even played in the playoffs with an ACL injury and decided that his body wasn't able to withstand the everyday of being a professional hockey player.

Whatever roads lie ahead of Brian Rafalski, we know that the Devils nation certainly wishes you the best of luck and thanks you for the time you gave the New Jersey Devils.

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Devils Prospect Burlon Going Pro

Written by Darren S. on .

 

 
It's not huge news like a new coach or a new contract but Brandon Burlon is giving up his final year of college at the University of Michigan to turn pro. It is common practice for NHL clubs to pull draft picks out of college after their junior year,  but word on the street is that the Devils didn't initiate this move.

Burlon (6 feet, 188 pounds) likely will start in the American Hockey League but I've seen this kid play and I have to say he does have some talent and wouldn't be surprised to see him make his way to the NHL quickly.

In 38 games this season, Burlon had five goals and 13 assists for 18 points. He lost a serious amount of weight during a bout with esophagitis during the postseason and didn't play as U-M made it to the national championship game. Burlon has made a full recovery.

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Devils Palmieri Ignites Team USA Offense

Written by Darren S. on .



Down 2-0 going into the third period, Nick Palmieri found the back of the net at 1:16 into the third period to cut Norway's lead in half. His goal ignited Team USA in the third and Palmieri would again find the back of the net on a powerplay at 13:44 which gave Team USA a 3-2 lead. Craig Smith would add another PP goal to give USA a 4-2 victory, securing their spot in the second round at the 2011 World Ice Hockey Championship.

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Johan Hedburg IS a Star!!

Written by Darren S. on .



Johan Hedburg has been named one of the NHL's 3 stars for the month of February. Hedberg went 7-1-1 with a 1.43 goals against average and a .943 save percentage with two shutouts in 10 games. What Hedburg has done for the Devils has helped this team steal some games, headlines and the attention of the league as the Devils are trying to do what no other team has ever done, secure a playoff spot while 27 points out of the playoffs at the halfway point.

Congrats Johan, you continue to prove that you were one hell of a pick up last summer. There is an argument out there that he just might have been the most important signing last summer.

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Volchenkov Gets 3 Game Suspension

Written by Darren S. on .

Anton Volchenkov was suspended by the NHL for 3 games due to the elbow he threw at Zach Boychuk's head. It was a dumb play, it landed him in the box during the game and now takes him off the ice for 3 games. We can't afford dumb penalties like that.

In case you missed it....


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Zajac IS Underrated

Written by Darren S. on .

Travis Zajac Game FiveSometimes I wonder if Devils fans know how important Travis Zajac is!!

Devils center Travis Zajac has been voted one of the league's most underrated players by his peers.

In the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and NHLPA Player Poll, Zajac was tied with Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blaclhawks for third most-underrated player in the league.

Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars was voted most underrated while Frans Nielsen of the Islanders finished second.

Zajac was the only member of the Devils to be mentioned in all of the voting, which included five players and coaches in several categories.

A total of 318 NHL players took part in the poll.

Among the categories were Teams you'd most and least like to play for; coaches you'd most and least like to play for; worst and best ice; smartest player, toughest player and best skater.

Here is a link to see all the results:

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/allstar/poll/

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From Bad To Worse: Parise To Miss Three Months

Written by AJ Manderichio on .

The Devils hellish season continued today, as Zach Parise joined a growing list of players on the injured list.

Parise, who underwent exploratory arthroscopic surgery yesterday on his injured right knee, had surgery today to repair a torn meniscus and will miss three months.

Parise initially injured the knee while skating during the offseason, but believed he could play through the injury. The knee got worse, and it seemed like Parise aggravated the injury when he fell after a collision with the Los Angeles Kings’ Kyle Clifford on Saturday and sat out the third period.

Parise and Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello took the red eye back to New Jersey after the game.

The Devils’ left-winger never played fewer than 81 games in a season and had missed only one game in his career due to injury before Monday night’s game.

This is another blow to an already weakened Devils team. The punchless Devils now lose one of their top scorers, energy men and leaders in the locker room. With the Devils lacking finish, the injury to Parise won’t provide a solution.

But as they say: When it rains, it pours.

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