The New Jersey Devils have finally opened their training camp! While it's only day two of training camp, it feels great to talk about real news rather than the anticipation of training camp and the preseason. There's plenty to talk about from Moose heading across the Hudson to more KHL rumors to the forward lines debuted on Thursday.
Johan Hedberg was invited to the New York Rangers training camp. During his stint in New Jersey, Moose was a fan favorite and was a competent backup for Brodeur. Hedberg struggled last year, winning only 6 games out of 19 he played in. He also put up a sub-par .883 save percentage last season. Moose was bought out right after the draft in which the Devils picked up Corey Schneider, who will split starts with Brodeur. Hedberg is a classy guy in that he understood the reason Lou Lamoriello needed to use a compliance buyout for last couple of years. As a Devils fan, I'm glad Hedberg is getting one final shot to play in the NHL. Some fans may not feel the same, but just remember all the good times we've had with moose and his stick handling ability.
More KHL Money Being Thrown Around
Tom Gulitti reported that Andrei Loktionov offered $3 million to play for several teams in the KHL. First, the KHL takes the Devils biggest star, and then they attempt to take an up and coming prospect away. Dainius Zubrus was also target according to Gulitti. However, Zubrus did not even listen to offers as he likes playing in the NHL.
While I doubt the KHL is specifically targeting the Devils, it's disturbing to know that the KHL has money to spend on free agents as well as a traction in retaining top tier players from Europe. Just imagine the NHL without all of the European superstars in the game today? It would be a much different league.
The "Logjam Problem" at Defense
It has been noted quite a few times that the Devils have a lot of defenseman who are NHL regulars or prospects ready to play in the NHL. I would split the groups as follows, in no particular order:
NHL Regulars: Adam Larsson, Peter Harrold, Anton Volchenkov, Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador, Marek Zidlicky
Fringe NHL Prospects: Jon Merrill, Alexander Urbom, Eric Gelinas, Damon Severson
As you can see, the Devils have quite a few up and coming defensemen who want to crack the NHL roster this season. Arguments can be made for whether or not each player deserves a shot in the NHL, but the Devils don't need to overpay some of the veterans when they have prospects that can fill in. The Devils could bolster their dismal offensive prospect pool and their draft position next season by trading away one of those veteran defenseman. Good candidates: Anton Volchenkov and Marek Zidlicky. Only time will tell what Peter DeBoer chooses to do with this problem. But keep in mind that this is a "good" problem to have.
Tom Gulittiy also reported that Dave Barr will run the power play while Mike Foligno takes over on the penalty kill.
Apparently Jarormir Jagr left the ice after a few minutes on the ice during Thursday's practice. However, the Devils have not said anything about it. So no need to freak out until there is an official report.
Who doesn't like to speculate about line possibilities? Given the overhaul of the Devils roster this season, the lines will look quite different from the prior couple of seasons. You may have questions like: will the Devils keep CBGB together, will Jagr and Elias create some chemistry? will PDB consistently switch lines around? Tom Gullitti posted the lines below with DeBoer comment that these lines are subject to change.
My initial reaction, who the heck is Ryan Kujawinski? He was the Devils 3rd round pick during the 2013 draft, for those who were wondering. As for the lines, I do not think that these lines are anywhere near the final lines the Devils will roll out at the beginning of the season.
It's been quite the offseason for the Devils, but it feels good to be talking training camp and knowing preseason is next week! What does everyone think of the news coming out of training camp so far? Or is everyone ready to watch some preseason games and start to evaluate the Devils new players?