23 Man Roster Set, Kind of...

Written by D. Wesley on .

Elias placed on IR to help NJ get down to 23 on the active roster but I would expect him to miss the opener on Thursday

The Devils trimmed their roster to 23 players by the 5pm deadline in a way that no one really expected. Patrik Elias was placed on injured reserve retroactive to last Tuesday and Mattias Tedenby was placed on the non-roster injured reserve which brought the Devils active roster down to 23.

It’s believe that Patrick Elias will be activated off IR on Wednesday for the season opener on Thursday night. Place Elias on IR, who was injured last week in the Philadelphia pre-season game buys the Devils some time to let other teams set their season opening rosters which gives NJ the ability to sneak a player through waivers without the fear of them being picked up. For example, with the Elias and Tedenby moves made, Stephen Gionta and Alex Urbom remain on the team. Had they been placed on waivers in time to cut the roster to 23, you’d have to imagine that someone would have picked them up.

Bottom line, I don’t think Gionta, Urbom or maybe even another forward should get too comfortable just yet or even plan on making the trip to Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Click below for more thoughts on the current Devils 23 man roster (I will make it 25 and include Tedenby and Elias in the list)

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Getting Ready For 2013/2014

Written by D. Wesley on .

Well hello, it’s been a while!! I actually didn’t expect to be here but after talking with the owners of Bloguin, the network that runs this site, it was best thought I should return to this site since it was idle all summer. So here I am, back writing about the New Jersey Devils on the site I originally started 4 years ago.

Speaking of summer, Labor Day always marks the end of summer and the time to start thinking about NHL Training Camps. Where shall we begin? The 2013 off-season for the Devils was certainly one to remember. In fact, I’m not sure I remember a more active off-season in the Devils recent years. In case you missed any of it because I know many fans (including the folks I had given this blog over to) checked out months ago when the Devils missed the playoffs, here is a quick recap.

  • Devils acquire Cory Schneider at the NHL Entry Draft which was an amazing way to start the off-season for NJ. With a Marty/Cory tandem, the 2013/2014 season looked to have a very positive outlook.
     
  • David Clarkson signed with Toronto. He was a decent player but no way can ANYONE convince me the money he got in Toronto is justified. He got Top 6 money (maybe even top 3 money) but he’s not a Top 6 forward. This wasn’t a shock to the system since I think everyone knew he would go to Toronto if the Leafs wanted him.
     
  • The Devils signed Ryan Clowe, Michael Ryder and Rostislav Olesz in the opening days of Free Agency. Nothing earth shattering here but decent pickups with some good experience, especially Ryder. (maybe the Clowe contract is a bit more than I would have liked to spend but he should be a suitable replacement for Clarkson.
     
  • BOMBSHELL OF THE SUMMER – Ilya Kovalchuk Retires from the NHL…for now anyway. He walked away for the Devils, from the NHL and from all that money but will probably return one day. I’m still not convinced that Lou didn’t have something to do with this. Kovy was a great player but for me, he never fit well into the Devils organization. Ownership was changing, Lou hated that contract from day 1 and a small hit on the cap if he retired now are all reasons I say Lou had something to do with it. (That reminds me, I should really get Kovy off the banner!!)
     
  • Jaromir Jagr signs a 1 year deal with the NJ Devils. To this day I’m still unsure about this. I’ve hated this player for most of his career because I thought he always had a me first attitude but now that he’s playing for NJ, maybe I can find a way to like him? The positive of him being here is that he should be a great mentor to the young guys and hopefully a player that puts up a lot of assists. I don’t expect a lot of goal scoring from him.
     
  • The New Jersey Devils are sold to a group led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer. Vanderbeek will retain a small minority ownership stake and a role in the organization. Let’s be honest here, this HAD to happen. Vanderbeek hasn’t really done a lot of good for this organization. He made Lou go after Kovy which cost us Parise, built a nice stadium in Newark but at a pretty hefty cost. It’s become clear that sometimes fans have no business owning teams.
     
  • The NHL announced the the Devils will play the Rangers in Yankee Stadium on Jan 26, 2014. Some might say that’s awesome and some might say that having so many outdoor game now has just ruined the original vision of the Winter Classic. If you’re one who feels the original vision has been ruined, I am right there with you but there’s a small part of me that is a little excited to see the NJ Devils outdoors.
     
  • Devils ink Adam Henrique to a 6 year deal. AWESOMESAUCE since Henrique is currently my favorite NJ Devil.

So that’s about it for the New Jersey Devils. In the upcoming days as we count down the days until training camp,  I will be writing about my expectations on the 2013/2014 New Jersey Devils. 

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Devils Acquire Cory Schneider

Written by Scott Robb on .

The New Jersey Devils shocked the hockey world on Sunday, June 30, when they made a move to acquire Vancouver Canucks back-up goaltender Cory Schneider.

Lou Lamoriello, a hockey genius in the eyes of Devils fans, pulled off the remarkable move by sending the 9th overall pick out west to Vancouver. The Canucks and Devils reportedly agreed to the deal on Saturday night.


Above: Cory Schneider stops Devils' forward Ilya Kovalchuk at the door-step in a game that the Vancouver Canucks won, 2-1, on February 24, 2012. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

The move could be defined as one of the "highway robbery" type. The Edmonton Oilers had displayed interest in Schneider, and were ready to make a more serious and hefty offer for him. Surrendering a first round pick in a somewhat-light draft class for a solid goalie-of-the-future seems like a perfectly reasonable idea.

Schneider, 27, was selected in the first round of the 2004 NHL Draft by the same team that traded him. He has collected 55 regular season wins in 98 games at the NHL level. Schneider, who provides an answer to the question, "What happens when Marty retires?," will be given an opportunity to prove his worth in a red sweater.

When asked about the move, Schneider said, "I'm really excited to be coming to New Jersey. I've always followed them; I've been a fan of Marty Brodeur's since I was younger." Now, Schneider will have a chance to learn from one of his idols. Devils fans have to be excited about this kind of move.

For all of your latest Devils news, reaction, and analysis, make sure to follow us on twitter. You can also connect with us on facebook.

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What Went Wrong?

Written by Joey Pona on .

With the recent struggle of play over this six game stretch, many Devils fans including our staff at Running with the Devils are wondering what happened?

One of the obvious reasons is the team without Ilya Kovalchuk. As we all know, Ilya Kovalchuk is currently recovering from a shoulder injury which has been projected to sideline the All-Star for 2-4 weeks. When he went down against Florida on March 23rd, apparently so did the Devils. Ilya Kovalchuk has 10 goals and 17 assists in 32 games this year. His stats however don't speak enough volume for how much of an importance he is to the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils (0-3-3) have lost 6 games in a row and have gone from being a solid playoff team to not even participating in the postseason for only the second time in 16 seasons. To put things into a great perspective, the Devils went from first in the Eastern Conference all the way down to 10th. This is also the second time that the Devils have had a losing streak of 6 games or more.

Without Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils are severely lacking in leadership, most importantly with the "Captain" Bryce Salvador. Since receiving the 'C' from Peter DeBoer, the fans have been upset with him believing the Ilya Kovalchuk should have received it. Along with the fans, I agree 100%. Kovalchuk is by far the leader in the locker room and it shows day in and day out when New Jersey is out on the ice. He leads by example and encourages all of his teammates around him to give 110%. He brings a toughness and hard work that nobody else on the team can muster up to. Since he has not been out there with his team, it's quite apparent how much of a leader that Bryce Salvador isn't. Bryce Salvador isn't the type of player that can motivate or lead a team just by his presence on the rink. I may not be in the locker room after games and I certainly don't know what goes on in their, but as a fan seeing this team perform without Ilya Kovalchuk makes it seem, to me, who the real captain is of the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils have also had a huge decline in goal contribution which has become more and more evident during this 6 game skid. The Devils have scored only 10 goals in the 6 games including being shutout at the hand of the Boston Bruins. The lack of contributions from players over this stretch like David Clarkson (1 goal), Travis Zajac (0 goals), and Adam Henrique (0 goals) who are big scores for New Jersey, is very concerning.

Finally, the horrible special teams. The Devils have absolutely been terrible on both powerplay and penalty kill. Nobody would have guessed that the Devils who had the best penalty kill from last year well over 90%, would be 19th this year with a PK hovering around 80%

The powerplay is 22nd with a 16% success. This speaks volume because the Devils get so many chances on the powerplay and are unable to produce, whether they miss the net or they're unable to complete crisp and solid tape-to-tape passes.

There is certainly feelings of unrest in New Jersey as the Devils look for someone or something to end this losing streak and help get them some points. The remaining schedule for the Devils is going to be hard but we will see what this team is made of as they hope to try and capture a playoff spot.

 

 

For the latest news, reactions, and analysis for everything New Jersey Devils hockey, follow us on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook.

Also, follow the members of RWTD on twitter: Raj, Scott, Joey, & Mike.

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The Impact of Ilya Kovalchuk's Injury

Written by Scott Robb on .

New Jersey Devils fans were hit with some tough news on Sunday afternoon: Ilya Kovalchuk will be out two-to-four weeks with a shoulder injruy.


Photo by Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger.

The superstar winger was injured in the Devils' 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday evening. Kovy lost his footing as he swooped around the net and crashed hard into the boards. He left the game, in obvious pain, and did not return. Devils President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello, on Sunday, said, "It’s not an operative situation. It’s a shoulder injury and, as I said, it could be two, it could be four, it could be less, but certainly not more."

Lamiorello added that an X-ray of Kovalchuk's shoulder "was fine" and affirmed that no surgery was needed.

Kovalchuk has 17 goals and 10 assists on the season. Kovy has not exactly been lighting the lamp over the last few games, but his locker room presence will be missed, without a doubt. Still, with the absence of Jersey's best player over the next few weeks, I want to put a sense of confidence back into the minds of Devils fans.

The schedule over the next two-to-four weeks is not that tough. Through the next two weeks, New Jersey will face Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Florida, New York (Islanders), Boston, Toronto, and Buffalo. At least four of those seven games are winnable without Kovalchuk. If Jersey can make it out of that two week span at 4-3 (with projected wins against Tampa Bay, Florida, New York, and Buffalo), everything will be just fine.

Let's assume that Kovalchuk's injury takes longer than two weeks to heal. Still, no need to panic. The Devils play Boston, Ottawa, Toronto, Philadelphia, Florida, and New York (Rangers). Certainly, some of those games are still winnable. If the Devils can't beat Philadelphia and Florida even without Kovalchuk, we have bigger issues to worry about.

This team has a good sampling of leadership, too. Players like Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias, and Travis Zajac have what it takes to step up when they are needed. This is a great way to see what the Devils are really made of--who's going to step up and fill Kovy's shoes (skates) while he is injured? Only time will tell; rest assured, someone will.

Great moments are defined by the amount of adversity present. Kovalchuk's injury obviously presents a large amount of adversity. I have 100% confidence that the Devils will be able to rebound from this bump in the road.

Joey Pona of Running With The Devils agrees. Joey says, "There's no doubt that the injury to Kovalchuk is going to hurt the Devils. They need to have players step up in his place and contribute to help them win. A good start would be with Clarkson to get going again and have the rest of them follow. I wouldn't be surprised to see Patrik Elias step up or even Martin Brodeur. They know what it's like playing through adversity, especially being together as teammates for so long. Look for Matt D'Agostini to have a good couple of weeks."

Ilya Kovalchuk is a tough dude. He played through the entire post-season last year with a herniated disc in his back. That just sounds painful. I expect Kovalchuk to be back out on the ice before we know it.

Keep in mind that the Devils are still in the playoff picture. They currently sit at seventh in the east with 36 points. The eighth-place Rangers have 33 and the ninth-place Hurricanes have 32. That's plenty of breathing room for now.

For all of your latest Devils news, analysis, and reaction, be sure to follow us on twitter. You can also "like" us on facebook. Follow our staff writers (Scott, Joey, and Mike) for up-to-the-minute reaction to all things Jersey's Team!

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Recommended Devils Offensive Lineups

Written by Joey Pona on .

Over the past couple of weeks the Devils have acquired some young talent and are beginning to get back some key players from injury. With the season quickly coming and going because of the lockout, its time to ramp things up for a New Jersey Devils playoff push.

The New Jersey Devils (14-11-6) are currently sitting at 7th in the Eastern Conference with 34 points. With critical games coming up against some quality opponents, the Devils should begin to ramp up their lineups and push full steam ahead into the playoffs.

The following are my recommended lines going forth for the New Jersey Devils:

Line 1: Andrei Loktionov - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk

With Travis Zajac struggling to produce offensively, Ilya Kovalchuk will certainly receive most of the attention and open the ice up for Travis Zajac to get more shots on net and get back to scoring.

Andrei Loktionov has certainly turned into a key element for the Devils since being acquired from LA earlier in the year. He has been really surprising and I look for him to keep producing and hopefully get more playing time as the year goes on.

Ilya Kovalchuk, well.. what can you say about Ilya Kovalchuk. He does it all on the ice. He is the deadliest sniper in the game for a reason and just makes everyone around him better. He has superb passing skills and has an excellent hockey IQ. Although Ilya has become more of a passer this year, he needs to just be the old Ilya Kovalchuk and take the shots when they come to him.

Line 2: Patrik Elias - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson

This line has the capability to do big things IF David Clarkson starts scoring like he was early on in the year. Patrik Elias continues to impress and put together a pretty good year in the shortened lockout year. He has gotten a decent amount of goals but continues to dish the puck out and help others get open to score. With him on the same line as David Clarkson, Patrik Elias will certainly look to get Clarkson the puck and help him get back to the David Clarkson of last year that scored 30 goals. With Adam Henrique coming into his sophomore season, he has a lot to prove in New Jersey. He is obviously able to score goals, but as every player in New Jersey, there needs to be consistency in his game. He doesn't lack skill that's for sure and he will certainly be around for a long time in NHL.

Line 3: Alexei Ponikarovsky - Matt D'Agostini - Dainius Zubrus

Here's what I like about this line. They aren't a line a that's going to blow you away in terms of lighting up the scoresheet on a nightly basis, but they all are definitely have the ability to score. Dainius Zubrus is a player who brings energy and toughness to any line that he plays on and when you play like that, you will get good scoring chances.

Matt D'Agostini is going to be coming to a new environment where the fans of New Jersey are expecting a winning team year in and year out. Being on a third line where expectations of producing are low, could give a good chance to find his role in New Jersey and mesh together with the rest of the team. He has plenty of upside and good potential in New Jersey and look for him to get a lot of time once he gets settled into the system.

It may also seem odd having a right winger playing in a center spot, but granted that there are no other available options at center, he has no other option. I think he as well as Zubrus and Ponikarovsky could make a good sneaky contributing line.

Alexei Ponikarovsky is the type of player that if he is on your team, you love him. If he isn't, than you hate him. He has the same perks as Dainius Zubrus. He is a highly physical player and can contribute the occasional offense. 

We are going to need to give this line some time together as Dainius and Alexei are both going to be returning from injuries and Matt D'Agostini coming over in a trade from St. Louis. When they are able to figure out eachother's strenghts and weaknesses this line is going to be a highly underrated.

Line 4: Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steven Bernier

Who in New Jersey doesn't love this line together? This line is by far the most enthusiastic and energized line that the New Jersey Devils have. This line is fully capable of swinging momentum in a single shift by their hard work and determination which rubs off on all the New Jersey Devils players. This line is capable of scoring and isn't afraid to play the physical aspect of hockey. I don't like when this line is split up because it lead to the success of New Jersey in the postseason and it continues to produce this year for them. It wouldn't make sense to fix something that isn't broke, right?


Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

For the latest news, notes, analysis, and reactions for everything New Jersey Devils, follow us on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook.

Follow us on our personal accounts: @joeypona, @RealScottRobb, @NJDPrime

 

 
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Devils File for Club-Elected Arbitration with Zach Parise

Written by Debra Harrington on .

As expected, the Devils filed for club-elected arbitration with Zach Parise before Friday’s 5:00pm deadline. But never fear, Parise fans, as this was actually a smart move by the Devils. All the filing means at this point is that Parise will not be able to field offer sheets from any other clubs if he continues to remain unsigned by the Devils by 12:00pm on July 1, 2011 (at which point he will become a Restricted Free Agent).

It does not necessarily mean that the Devils and Parise will actually attend an arbitration hearing. The earliest date that a hearing would take place is late July, and if the Devils and Parise are able to work out a long-term deal before the hearing date then there would be no need for the hearing. As per Lou Lamoriello, the Devils are continuing to work on a deal with Parise and have filed for arbitration merely as a means to protect the club’s interests by providing more time to get the deal done without the worry of offers coming in from other clubs.

Obviously, this also prevents Parise from being able to test the market and see what other clubs would have offered for him, thereby eliminating the possibility of the Devils being forced to match the largest amount offered in order to keep Parise on the team. Ideally, for both sides, an agreement will be reached before the hearing date.

 

FUN FACT:

This year’s RFA class is loaded with talent. Not only does it include Parise, but it also includes the likes of Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty. It’s fortunate for the Devils and their fans that Parise is eligible for arbitration - allowing the Devils to file for it today. The same cannot be said for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings (Stamkos’s and Doughty’s teams, respectively) and their fans. Neither Stamkos nor Doughty have played 4 full seasons in the NHL so far and, as a result, both are ineligible for arbitration. Of course those players can re-sign with their current teams before July 1st, but it would probably be in their best interests to become RFAs and field offers from other teams forcing their current teams to match the best offers they receive (if their current teams wish to keep them).

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Leblond Clears, Mair Signs, Volchenkov and Rolston Out

Written by D. Wesley on .

PLx3 has been sent down to Albany as he cleared waivers today at noon (surprised nobody picked him up!!). Lou says it has nothing to do with the other night and the Devils have finally signed Adam Mair, giving the Devils 16 skaters for tomorrow's game against the Sabres. Volchenkov's out for at least the week as he is suffering from a broken nose and a stiff neck, and Brian Rolston is seeing a specialist about a suspected sports hernia. Could Rolston end up on the LTIR list?? This season just keeps getting more and more interesting!! no comments

Devils Face Another Possible Investigation

Written by AJ Manderichio on .

What has already been a trying year for the Devils organizations and fans may get even worse.

According to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet in Canada, the NHLPA Executive Director in waiting, Donald Fehr, will conduct an internal review of the collective bargaining to see if - surprise, surprise - the Devils' violated the CBA by dressing only 15 skaters for yesterday's game.

The CBA explicitly states instances where teams can play below the minimum of 18 skaters and two goalies. Article 16.4 states:

"Except in the case of emergency, there shall be no reduction of the required minimum Playing Rosters of the clubs, below eighteen (18) skaters and two (2) goalies."

Yesterday counted as one of those emergency situations. The Devils were without Anton Volchenkov and Brian Rolston because of injury, and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, who was serving a game suspension for instigating a fight in the last five minutes of a game on Saturday night. The team, already playing without Bryce Salvador and Anssi Salmela and lacking the cap space to make a move, had to play with 15 skaters.

Before anyone throws their hands in the air and screams "CIRCUMVENTION! CIRCUMVENTION!", there needs to be a look at the past history of these moves happening:

1. The Calgary Flames played with 15 players at least three times near the end of last season due to injuries and cap restrictions. There was no investigation from the league or the NHLPA.

2. The Devils themselves dressed less than 18 skaters for six games in 2006-2007, and there was no investigation.

Yes, it's a small sample, but the fact of the matter remains that this has happened in the past. But only now, for some reason, the NHL and NHLPA are deciding to take a stand against these moves. But, in an emergency situation, as yesterday was, the idea of penalizing the Devils is ridiculous.

This situation, for most fans, brings right back to the middle of the summer, where the Devils followed the letter of an unwritten, established rule and faced the harsh recourse of the league. Now, it seems like it's happening all over again. The Devils did nothing wrong by skating only 20 healthy players to begin the season, and because of injuries and a foolish suspension, the Devils had to only dress 15 skaters yesterday. Did their current cap situation contribute to the problem? Of course it did. But it wasn't the main factor behind the decision.

At least the Devils have attempted to operate under their own mess. The Rangers, like several other teams, have routinely stashed big contracts in the AHL, which is more direct cap circumvention than the shorthanded lineup the Devils used yesterday.

But, once again, the Devils feel the sharp light of the spotlight, and must prepare for another potential battle with the management of the league.

Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

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Devils Finalize Roster...For Now

Written by AJ Manderichio on .

The New Jersey Devils finalized their roster, making several moves to make the team cap compliant by today’s 3 p.m. deadline.

To see the moves they made, continue reading after the jump!

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