By 5 PM Eastern Standard Time, all thirty NHL clubs must be compliant with the salary cap, the 50-man contract limit, and 23-man active roster limit. The New Jersey Devils have been under the cap and they've got room for contracts. Their issue was the active roster. As it takes 24 hours for a player to clear waivers, the waiver wire news at noon today was of interest to all teams. The Devils utilized it and in a curious way. They placed defenseman Peter Harrold, winger Cam Janssen, and right winger Steve Bernier on waivers as reported in this post by Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice. Should they clear, they can be sent down to Albany - clearing some of the space necessary for the NHL active roster.
At least one decision was made for the team. Ryan Carter signed a one-year contract worth $725,000 with the Minnesota Wild, as confirmed in this post by the Star-Tribune's Michael Russo. Carter was very loyal all summer long and throughout training camp. He was willing to play in preseason games without a contract. As I understand it, that meant he paid all insurance costs out of his own pocket. To me, Ryan Carter did want to be a Devil. I can't fault him for going elsewhere for employment. What was he supposed to do? Stick around until room was created for him? I personally thought Carter was the best of the CBGBs and a solid fourth-liner in general. Anyone who can provide actual energy, chip in some goals, not be a penalty machine, not be a possession albatross (I think Peter DeBoer had a hand in that, though), and can kill penalties well for under seven-figures isn't out of a job for long. Good for Carter for getting a contract. And that it didn't appear to burn any bridges in the process, based on my reading of Carter's quotes in this post by Gulitti at Fire & Ice. Lou wouldn't be hyping him to Chuck Fletcher otherwise.
So the Devils are left with 27. Harrold, Janssen, and Bernier would need to clear waivers and get demoted to get the Devils down to 24. This leaves at least one more tough decision involving Jordin Tootoo and Scott Gomez. I personally didn't think much of Tootoo in preseason, but there's a better than zero chance he's the guy. He would be the "beef" in place of Janssen. Is he better than Janssen? Yeah. Is he good? Not really. Gomez did more in preseason, but I only thought he was a contributor on power plays. I didn't think much of his play at even strength and his recent season suggest there's not much to think of for most people as well. The Devils could just let both go and go down to 22. Or bring one of the three waived players back - after clearing - to make it 23. I suspect one of them will be signed. I'm not a fan of either, but I'd rather take the risk of Gomez doing something of value on the fourth line than Tootoo doing something of value on the fourth line.
I have zero issue with Janssen going down. I can't say I'm stunned Bernier is in this picture since I couldn't tell you much of what he did in preseason. Harrold is the head scratcher. Damon Severson played a lot of minutes and the play generally went well when he was out there. He also got caught up in the pace of the NHL game a number of times and made a number of ill-advised plays on the puck. I see why some would think he'll be a good NHL player some day, but I don't think that day is today. Moreover, as the #7 defender, Severson wouldn't be playing regularly. If he does, it'll likely be in place of one of other unless someone gets hurt. Harrold may not be all that good, but he can come out of the press box and be decent when the opportunity arise for him to play. Severson could have been sent down without waivers and brought up when injury does require the Devils to make a call-up. Maybe that's still the plan and so the Devils can freely move Harrold within ten games or thirty days. Then again, if they did that, then why not just keep it simple and move the waiver-ineligible player?
So there will be further news on Tuesday as far as what the Devils do to fill their 23 spots. At least it's looking good for fans of Stephen Gionta and Jacob Josefson. That's not insignificant as I didn't think Josefson We'll see. Apologies for the late reaction; but please leave yours in the comments. Feel free to extrapolate from who you'd want on the roster as far as what the season opener's lineup will be. Thank you for reading.