Tom Gulitti has just reported that the New Jersey Devils cut 4 more players from the original training camp roster. All 4 will be sent to the Lowell Devils for at least the beginning of the season. A quick word on each of them.
Jeff Frazee, Goaltender - Frazee represents the future of the Devils in the net. However, with the signing of Yann Danis this summer and his subsequent solid showings in preseason (most notably against the Rangers), Frazee remains third on the Devils' depth chart at goaltender. He'll likely be the starter in Lowell and get even more experience at the position to help his development. Just as I predicted earlier this month. That said, I wish he got some minutes in preseason; as he saw the bench in all 4 preseason games so far.
Ben Walter, Center - Walter was acquired from Edmonton in exchange for the rights to Tony Romano a few months back. Later in July, Chere noted that he was signed for Lowell. Walter saw no action with the New Jersey Devils, with Tim Sestito and Rod Pelley getting action ahead of him. Therefore, it shouldn't be a surprise that he has just been assigned to Lowell.
Olivier Magnan-Grenier, Defenseman - Prior to this past week, Magnan-Grenier was one of the many defensemen left on the roster. 15 defensemen after the first cut, essentially competing for one, maybe two spots on the team. Then something unexpected happened. Lemaire tried out Magnan-Grenier as a right wing, giving him a shot in a preseason game. In my opinion, Magnan-Grenier definitely made the most of his opportunity against the Islanders, getting into fights, throwing hits, skating like a madman, and getting the game winning goal. Alas, he was moved back to defense prior to being cut today. Even if he wasn't, his chances to make the team were unrealistic due to the numbers ahead of him. Still, he should be someone to keep an eye on from time to time in Lowell.
Vladimir Zharkov, Left Wing - Zharkov gets the unfortunate distinction of being the first cut player who has got significant time in preseason. Zharkov looked all right in the three preseason games he played in. In total, he contributed 1 goal, 8 shots in 3 games and his most impressive night was against the Islanders. Given Lemaire went with Matt Halischuk to fill in for a sore Jay Pandolfo last night, that was probably a sign that this would happen today. I feel he's got good potential as a secondary right wing in this league. I don't know if he'll be a checking winger or a second-line winger. Hockey's Future's profile calls him a two-way forward, and I think that's probably best. Regardless, I do think we'll be seeing in him New Jersey in the future. A big second season in Lowell would help his cause greatly.
I wish all four the best of luck in their upcoming season in Lowell. The New Jersey Devils now have (at least) 6 more to cut before Saturday and one preseason game left.