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.
As you can see we've made a few changes around here lately with the colors and design of our site. Our site used the be red with a white banner on the top but we figured that a year and half of looking at the same thing was long enough and since the Devils aren't doing anything but sleeping in, golfing and fishing right now, this was a good time to make changes.
That hopefully isn't the only thing changing around here.
Writers - We are looking for guys and girls that want to write about the Devils for next season. You don't have write everyday and even multiple times in a week. If you want to write, we will find a way to put your stuff up there.
PodCasters - I am going to try and do some type of podcast next season. Whether it be a weekly or monthly segment will be determined in the future but if you want to join in on the fun, please contact us via email or twitter.
Graphic Artists - If you love the Devils and love doing graphical things about the Devils, contact us, we could use the talent!!
I was recently contacted by the company MLX Skates about testing out and reviewing their new skates. Currently, there are no NJ Devils that use their skates but there are some big name NHL players lacing up MLX Skates for every game. Players such as Tim Thomas, Dustin Byfuglien and Sergei Gonchar with a list that goes on and on. I've gladly said that I would try out their skates and let everyone know what I thought. Keep an eye out for the review in the coming weeks. Please, go check out everything they offer as I know many readers play hockey and are always looking for good hockey equipment. The story about how the company came together is extremely interesting.
With the 2011 off-season moving along at a snails pace (especially since there is still hockey to be played for other teams) I thought I would spend today looking at buyout options for the New Jersey Devils. It's no secret that the Devils have very litle room in their cap space and have a pretty important player to try and sign. That is, of course, unless the Devils go the arbitration route with Parise in an effort to buy more time to sign a long term deal.
The period in which a team can buyout the remaining part of a players contract for a reduced penalty is coming up. That period is from June 15 - June 30th (and of course again once a team is finished with all arbitrations but you can only buyout players that have gone through arbitration.)
So are there any Devils that I would buy out in order to create room? I believe there are but please keep in mind that buying out a player doesn't create an enormous amount of cap space and leaves a team trying to replace that player.
Current Cap Hit: $3,000,000, 1 year remaining
Colin White is 33, not even close to being the physical defenseman that he once was and contributes nothing offensively to this team. When you're a defensive defenseman and your team is coming off a year in which they really struggled defensively, you can pretty much guarentee your name is coming up in this conversation. Not that I am a proponent of signing Andy Greene, but buying out Colin White would give the Devils the money to do so. A veteran presence on the blue line is important and I am for buying out Colin White if and only if Bryce Salvador is healthy enough to return to the Devils blue line. Alexander Urbom is young, physical defenseman that could give the Devils what they once had with Colin White.
Current Cap Hit: $2,666,667, 2 seasons remaining
I'm tired of waiting for this guy to come around. Every year I think this could be the year of David Clarkson. I've thought that the best way for Clarkson to produce for this team is to play Randy McKay style hockey, camp out in front of the goalie and pound home rebounds but he doesn't do that often enough for me and more times that not, he disappears offensively. He contributes very little on the power play and isn't very good on the defensive side of the puck. The one thing David Clarkson is good at, is throwing fists. He has led the Devils in Major Penalties since his arrival in 2007 and I certainly don't want to downplay the importance of fighters in the NHL but it isn't enough for me. The problem is, when David Clarkson shows up at the rink to play and bang bodies around and help his team win, he does a very good job at it but he doesn't do it consistantly enough to warrant such a large contract, therefore he has to go.
Current Cap Hit: $3,400,000, 2 seasons remaining
This is one I go back and forth on all the time. The truth is, Zuburs was never a guy that was going to light the lamp as much as his contract dictates that he should. I never really understood why so much money was thrown at a guy thats a 15/20 goal scorer and 25/30 assist man. If there is anything that Zubrus brings to the table, it would be his size but while I wish he threw more open ice body checks, he's fantastic at using his size against the boards to battle for puck possesion. He is certainly one of the better faceoff guys on the team.
I honestly only listed him here because he has buyout potential. I'm not sure I am willing to pay the cost of the buyout vs just keeping him on the team and using the few things he does well for us. As for White and Clarkson, I am sold on getting them off of our team. If the Devils could trade Clarkson, I believe they should but I don't think the trade value for him is very high and even less so for White and Zubrus. The real problem with buying out anyone is that the cap benefit is really minimal but when it comes to signing Parise, maybe that extra $1 million in cap room with make a differance.
What do you think?
I recently sat down one morning to eat my bowl of cereal for breakfast and picked up the sports section of the Star Ledger and right there, front and center was an article about a Devils goalie prospect. I actually wondered why so much was being made, and has been made about what will happen with this team once Marty decides to hang them up. Brodeur is 39 and entering the final year in his contract. Of course there are many questions that need to be answered but I ask you, why do the Devils have to replace Marty with a guy that has been brought up through the Devils organization? Why can't we just find a guy on the UFA market to fill our goaltending needs? Wasn't Hedberg hands down the best thing that happened to us last summer?
Of the teams still playing in the NHL Playoffs, only 2 of those teams are using goalies that have been groomed by the organization. You could even argue that Tim Thomas isn't really a guy that has been groomed by the Bruins organization as he was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in 1994, and spent a lot time playing in Europe before making his NHL debut with the Bruins during the 2002–03 season. Dwayne Roloson has spent time with A LOT of clubs over his long NHL Career. Antti Niemi made his rise in the NHL as the goalie that deliverd for the city of Chicago last season but during the offseason, Chicago had to walk away from Niemi because of salary cap restraints. Truthfully, Niemi really got his start in the SM-liiga as he spent 3 years there before signing with Chicago. Jimmy Howard has been the exception of the bunch, having been drafted by the Wings in 2003 and getting the occasional call up to the NHL starting in the 2005–06 season. During the 2010-11 season, Howard signed a 2-year contract extension with the Red Wings worth $2.25 million per season, so it would appear he is going to stay in Detroit for a while.
So Where am I going with this? Why does it appear that the Devils are so worried about finding a goalie that can be groomed from within the organization to take the place of Marty Brodeur once he's ready to leave the ice? Jeff Frazee has been in Albany for what seems like years now and appears that he won't ever be ready for the NHL. McKenna has been called up a few times but I'm not sure he's the right guy either. Looking at the year Marty becomes a UFA, goalies like Rinne, Mason, and Huet will also be joining him (although it is unlikely Nashville would let Rinne ever get away.)
Maybe the Devils organization should get away from the thinking that they need a guy who has paid his dues to the organization as a replacement for Marty. Look at the Sharks, for years they relied on their guy, Evgeni Nabokov but cut him loose last summer to go get Niemi and the Sharks are putting together a decent run, all be it they've allowed Detroit to climb out of a 3-0 hole.
I understand that NJ has to start thinking about life without #30 between the pipes, I just want them to realize that there are good stop gap goalies out there until the next franchise goalie comes along. And hey, you never know, one of those stop gap goalies could end up being the next franchise goalie.
So what are your thoughts? Should we be worried about replacing with Broduer from within or should we not worry to much about it because there is bound to be someone out there that can do what we need a goalie to do?
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.
The Devils posted this video on the NHL Video site and while it is exciting to watch, it certainly leads you to believe that the Devils were a team that liked to score goals and weren't afraid to hit people.
* With 171 Goals for this season, NJ ranked 30th out of 30 in the goal scoring department.
* With 1539 total Hits laid on opposing players this season, NJ ranks 28th out of 30th in that department. Lets be fair though, John MacLean's strategy of turning over the puck and high fiving the oppostion as they spend through the neutral zone on the way to scoing a goal didnt' count as a hit, otherwise, I am pretty sure we might have led the league in hits.
* NJ ranked 30th out of 30 in the blocked shots department. Look on the bright side, at least we didn't suffer any major injuries, ala Stephen Callahan, late in the season because we like to block shots!!
I get that the Devils have to put out a video recapping the highlights of the season, and there certainly were a few worth noting.
* The signature Kovalchuk game winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs
* The game winning goal in OT against the Pittsburgh Penguins that had almost everyone jumping out of their seats.
* The amazing play that was Johan Hebburg throughout the season
* The lucky bounce they got against the Rangers at the buzzer.
* The Elias crossover goal against the 'Canes
They did miss these highlights though:
* Turn this way, that way, no this way move and goal Kovalchuk made on Joe Corvo of the Hurricanes
* The Tedenby goal where he faked out the entire Islanders team, including the guys sitting on the bench.
* The Talinder to Elias to Talinder to Kovalchuk slapper against the Oilers
I am glad that they got the fat kid and his beer, the guy who couldnt stand up during one of the most exciting moments of the season, we certainly didn't want to miss that one!! And lets be truthful, this video is much more entertaining to watch than watching the staff lip sync, poorly I might add, to Bruce Springsteen. Why oh why do they put this stuff out there?? 15 years/100 million isn't enough material for the haters? If you have no idea what I am talking about, go visit http://video.devils.nhl.com
Mike “Doc” Emrick was named Monday by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as the winner of a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality - Play-by-play for his work on NHL telecasts for NBC Sports. Last month, "Doc" won a New York Emmy for his work on MSG Network as the Devils’ play-by-play announcer. Congrats Mike "Doc" Emrick, you certainly have a gift and I am glad that Devils fans get to hear that gift the most!!
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.
Andy Greene would sign on the dotted line today if Lou shoved a contract in his face. Greene admitted yesterday that he would gladly skip the free agency period and stay with NJ given the oppurtunity.
"This is the choice. This is where I want to be," Greene told The Star-Ledger. "If there is an offer there that is good and I felt was right, I'd definitely take it. I'm not dragging my feet waiting for July 1. We'll let it play out."
Question is, do we want to keep him? Lou has said that while obtaining a defenseman that can actually move the puck is high on his list this summer, he would like to see Greene in a Devils uniform in 2011/2012.
The two sides have spoken about getting a contract done but as of now, there has been no contract offer. Greene earned $750,000 this past season. So how much do you think Andy Greene is worth paying to keep him on the Devils blue line?
Greene was the Devils' leading scorer among defensemen with 23 points (four goals, 19 assists) in 82 games. He was durable but also had the worst plus-minus rating among the club's blue liners (minus-23). I like that he was the leading scoring among defensemen but that minus-23 is horrible. If you can manage not be a liability out there defensively, then I say pay the man something in order to keep him here, otherwise go away.
Have you been paying attention to the NHL Playoffs? It has been a great playoff season so far with some very exciting games that have gone into OT combined with a bunch of series that have gone the full 7 games but at the same time, the Devils aren't in it. It is certainly a weird feeling. Its not the the Devils have had deep runs in recent years because they haven't but usually once the Devils go out, I pay more attention to the team that knocked them out. I can always justify losing to a team if they end up being the team that lifts the cup.
The real problem with the Devils players spending their time being Dads, fishing, golfing, etc is that the lack of Devils news really hurts this site. So lets spend today talking about Zach Parise because the rumor mill has been working overtime this week when it comes to the future of Zach Parise and the NJ Devils.
NJ.com ran a story the other day that seemed to make readers believe that Lou and company were leaning towards taking Parise to arbitration instead of trying to sign a long term deal. The problem with the article, or at least the way it is written is that NJ.com appears to be making articles out of nothing really.
Yes, arbitration is a realistic possibility for Parise. The Devils would get to keep Parise on the Devils for what would probably be a low price because of his injury last season and give the Devils an extra year to sign him long term. The Devils have money coming off the books next summer and probably would fit Parise in a little easier. The problem with arbitration is that no one ever wins that game, the players usually end up feeling like crap because a GM can't go into that glowing about the player no matter how important he is. Most the time, I'd imagine that arbitration breaks a player/GM relationship and usually ends with that player signing elsewhere once UFA comes around.
I do hope the Devils sign Parise long term but to be running an article about going to arbitration at this stage in the game is rediculous. It is April 26th, no team is really thinking about signing guys at the moment. The teams that are home are probably letting their players lick their wounds for another few weeks and then getting back down to business once the time is right. I have no doubt that Lou want Parise to stay, that he would love to sign him long term. If Lou feels arbitration is the right route for Parise at this time, it is his call. I certainly hope if he does, that Parise finds away to deal with the disappointment of arbitration and ends up staying in NJ next summer. If Lou and Zach strike a deal this summer, great. Bottom line, it is April and now really isn't the time to speculate what is going on in Lou's mind when it comes to Zach Parise.