With the season fast approaching, it's no secret that the Devils have invited some players to training camp (with the number varying depending on who your source is) as teams usually do for the preseason. Today we take a brief look at each of these men, and quickly examine why they will or why they won't make the team.
We as Devils fans know exactly what to expect and what we're going to get when it comes to Ryan Carter in training camp; the only reason he is even included in this article is because he's coming to camp without a contract. Ryan comes in playing for a contract while Steve Bernier already has his; something not quite right about that.
Carter is exactly the type of player I think New Jersey needs on its fourth line; he gives effort on every shift, he hits, he protects teammates when necessary, and he also has a decent amount of skill that ensures he's not a complete offensive black hole. It's possible the Devils move a few bodies before and/or during the preseason and make room for a contract for Carts. It's also possible that one of our glass players (Havlat and Clowe immediately come to mind) gets injured early on opening a space for Carter as well. It's been stated in previous articles by both Alex and I that Carter is quite possibly the best player out of CBGB, so the fact that he's the odd man out again makes little sense.
(Author's Note: I swear if someone offers him a contract and he accepts, while we're still stuck with Bernier, I will scream at my television every time Bernier takes a shift.)
Will He Make the Roster: He should, but it's up to Lou (or injuries) to move some bodies to make it happen.
Gomez was actually the first player that we heard about being invited to New Jersey's camp for this season, and the reaction among the fan base was somewhat mixed; due to the way that he left the team (and specifically who he left the team for) and the resulting bad blood, there are many who are unwilling to accept him back in any role with the team.
I have two problems with the possibility of a Gomez return to New Jersey; the first is that his play has fallen off of a cliff in recent years; his point totals from the last three seasons have been underwhelming to say the least. Even if they were projected over a full 82 games, he would have been on pace for 24 points in 2011-2012, 31 in 2012-2013, and a whopping 21 this past campaign. The one possible redeeming quality of his (faceoffs) isn't even that good. The second problem ties into his numbers because we have more than enough forwards and certainly enough that can post point totals similar to or better than Gomez's. The only reason I can see Gomez being invited to camp is to showcase him for a team that could use an extra forward, push the guys that are going to make the roster harder, or simply he's just a warm body to play in a few preseason games.
Will He Make the Roster: I don't think so; this isn't like the Petr Sykora rehash, where he proved that he still had some tread on the tires. I predict Gomez will find himself in a situation very similar to last season; playing for a team that doesn't want to rush the development of its youth.
A former stalwart of the Toronto Maple Leafs' blue line, Kaberle has also spent time in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, and most recently the Montreal Canadiens, who used a compliance buyout on him at the end of the 2012-2013 season. He spent the past season (as well as part of 2012-2013) with Rytiri Kladno of the Czech 1 league.
Kaberle during his career was a pretty productive player from the back end of the ice. He currently sits as the second-highest scoring defenseman in Maple Leafs history; not too shabby for a player selected in a round of the NHL Draft that no longer exists. His production, much like that of Gomez, has taken a bit of a dive, but the argument could be made that his lack of production was due to the way he was deployed by Carolina and Montreal. He was good for 26 points in 52 games for Rytiri Kladno, so there's a chance he could still produce at the NHL level, and it's no secret the Devils could use players that can find the back of the net or help others find it; the preseason will be a good test to see if Kaberle can still perform at the necessary level to make the team.
Will He Make the Team: Maybe? Even if he plays well, there's a few too many variables at the moment between Eric Gelinas' holdout, another defense invite (see below), and Scarlett, Severson and Helgeson being in camp. With the Devils at six NHL contracts for defensemen, barring injury, all of those men are competing for one spot. If Gelinas signs, the spot for an extra defenseman might disappear altogether; if he doesn't Lou might sign "Diet Gelinas" as I will refer to Kaberle as from here on out.
Mamashev is rumored to have been invited to the Devils' camp for this season, though I have yet to see it confirmed. I'll be completely honest, before I heard the rumors I had no idea who the man was. After doing a little digging, I learned that Renat is a stalwart of the Russian hockey leagues, playing most recently for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of the KHL.
Mamashev's stats last season were fairly unimpressive as he posted 5 goals and 7 assists in 32 games before being released by Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk. The season before that however he put up 10 goals and 32 assists in just 52 games; Renat could help New Jersey, but only if it's the Mamashev of two years ago and not of last year.
Will He Make the Team: See Kaberle, but exclude the "Diet Gelinas" part.
To reiterate, the jam of players currently on the Devils' roster makes it hard to predict which unrestricted free agents (if any) will make the final roster. I could see Ryan Carter coming back, but again it's contingent on bodies being moved one way or another. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the training camp situation, as well as the invitees. Any invites that you dislike? Any players you wish were coming to our camp that are attending another team's camp? Leave any comments below and as always, thank you for reading.
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