The Devils avoided arbitration with defenseman Mark Fraser, signing him to a one-year, one-way contract for $500,000.
Last season, Fraser made $500,000, but had a two-way contract. Fraser wanted a one-way contract to ensure himself a spot on an NHL roster.
Fraser became an important rookie on the Devils’ blue line last season. In 61 games, he tallied three goals and three assists and had a plus-3. He also recorded 36 penalty minutes and averaged 12:22 of ice time.
After the Devils acquired Martin Skoula in a trade deadline deal and Paul Martin returned from injury, Fraser became a healthy scratch for 13 of the team’s final 19 regular season games. He only played in one of the team’s five playoff games.
Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello was happy with the terms of the contract.
“This is something I’m very comfortable with,” Lamoriello said of the contract. “We talked about it, but we were prepared to go Friday (to the arbitration hearing) if we had to.”
Since Fraser filed for arbitration, the Devils now have a second buyout window to clear cap space if they need. That could help them if the rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million deal is overturned. The buyout window begins three days after the agreement and ends 48 hours after the starting date.
I think this is a solid depth move for the Devils. Fraser comes cheaper than other veterans still available, and he played solid hockey whenever he was on the ice. He did make some mistakes, but he was always reliable and gave the team quality minutes. I advocated for Fraser to get more playing time last season, and I’m happy to see this deal get done.
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