While there was the whole "Bankruptcy" story today, there was other Devils news today that wasn't exactly a massive hoax. Per the Devils twitter feed, the Devils have invited Petr Sykora, Steve Bernier, Anton Stralman, Justin Barnett and Thomas Nesbitt to training camp. While most of the training cap invitees don't tend to make the team, the Devils made a few good tryout offers to a few players who could make a difference. In fact, i'm actually quite content with the invites handed out today.
Anton Stralman is known more for his offensive abilities than his defensive abilities, Notching 34 points a season ago with the Columbus Blue Jackets. While he did play for some pretty bad Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets teams, he's a -40 over the last 4 seasons. His physical play is somewhat underwhelming as well. There's not much risk to this signing really, but outside of NHL experience, he doesn't really have much going for him.
After an offensively promising season and a barely avoided arbitration, it was a big year for Anton Stralman, and he can only be called a disappointment after an 18 point, -11 showing where he missed 30 games. Not surprisingly, 89% of fans wanted to see him out the door, and Scott Howson agreed.
If he's not good enough for the Blue Jackets, I can't see why he'd be good enough for the Devils.
From an experience point of view, I'm okay with it. The Devils ditched Jamie Langenbrunner and his diva antics last season, while Brian Rolston was traded and Colin White was bought out, effectively making the Devils a significantly younger team. With all the young players around, someone who's won two stanley cups should help in the locker room. Sykora's also a right wing- so he can effectively take Dainius Zubrus' spot on the right side, allowing Zubrus to replace the injured Travis Zajac at center. The only downside is that perhaps Sykora might not be nearly as effective a player as he was before.
Nesbitt is an undrafted free agent who played for the Ottawa 67s last season and was invited to the Devils training camp last season. Last season he recorded 32 goals and 65 points, after recording 33 goals the previous season. He doesn't have NHL experience and he's not a very big player (HockeyDB lists him as 5'11 180 lbs), however he is a right winger. I've mentioned the Devils organizational problems at right wing, so I think the Devils might sign him to an AHL deal if they can fit him in under the 50 man limit.
Justin "J.T." Barnett was invited to the Developmental camp in July. Barnett isn't known for being a big scorer, however he's pretty big (WHL.com lists him as 6'2 200 lbs) and he does play right wing. There really isn't anything else I have to say about the tryout for Barnett, It's not really an interesting signing.
The invite to Steve Bernier is perhaps the most interesting tryout. Bernier's a former first round pick and is more well known for his lack of success in the NHL over his career. He wasn't qualified by the Florida Panthers after a 15 point season last year. While he did get decent linemates in San Jose, he's been all over the place in terms of ice time- he's been on the ice with guys like Joe Thornton and Henrik Sedin, however he's been used as a bottom 6 forward most of the time. If Bernier did recieve increased responsibility and ice time, he could potentially flourish. He's only 26, and there's literally no risk in signing Bernier whatsoever. Well, except for fans of Bernier's former teams making fun of the Devils.
Here's some additional reading on Bernier, via this fanpost by nhlcheapshot over at Pension Plan Puppets.
From some of the tryouts, I think the Devils might be looking to remedy their problems regarding their lack of depth at right wing. Barnett and Nesbitt are probably not guarantees, but signing one of them could help the team in regards to organizational depth at the right wing. As for the veteran tryouts, I assume Stralman will likely be insurance just in case Bryce Salvador won't be ready for the start of the season. As for Sykora and Bernier, I think the Devils are leaning more towards using Dainius Zubrus to replace Travis Zajac at center rather than calling up Adam Henrique, seeing as Sykora and Bernier are both capable of playing the right wing.
As for everyone else, what do you think about the invites? Do you like any of the camp invites or are you not happy with them? Leave your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading