As the Devils finish off the first week of preseason, the New Jersey Devils made a significant number of cuts today. Twenty-one players were re-assigned today with another five placed on waivers for the purpose of re-assignment after clearing waivers. I do not think those five will stick around after clearing given who they are, so they have effectively cut 26 today. Andrew Gross has a full list of who was cut at Fire & Ice. Here’s a breakdown with my thoughts:
Demoted to Juniors (teams in parentheses):
Goalie: Evan Cormier (Saginaw)
Defensemen: Colby Sissons (PTO, Swift Current), Colton White (Sault Ste. Marie)
Forwards: Nathan Bastien (Mississauga), Michael McLeod (Mississauga), Brandon Gignac (Shawnigan)
None of these are particularly surprising. Neither really stood out in camp or in preseason, save for McLeod potting in a goal on Monday. All should be with their junior teams and playing prime minutes anyway as their respective leagues have begun. I’m going to assume that Sissons being demoted means his try out is over. We’ll see if he gets signed in the future.
Demoted to Albany
Goalies: Ken Appleby, MacKenzie Blackwood
Defensemen: Joshua Jacobs, Vojtech Mozik,
Forwards: Brandon Baddock, Blake Coleman, Brian Gibbons, Ryan Kujawinski, Jan Mandat, Max Novak, Blake Pietila, John Quenneville, Ben Thomson, Kevin Rooney, Ben Sexton
Placed on Waivers for Demotion: Reece Scarlett (D), Andrew MacWilliam (D), Brandon Gormley (D), Karl Stollery (D), Carter Camper (F)
Blackwood and Appleby will definitely compete in Albany’s upcoming training camp to determine their particular order. No one at forward is a big surprise either. Nobody in this group really impressed in the early preseason games. Quenneville should be with Albany to get acclimated to the pro game anyway. We may see a few of these players get call ups. Gibbons was in New Jersey on a PTO; I wonder if they intend to sign him for Albany? We’ll see.
The big news is here is that Mozik has been demoted. The battle for a depth spot on New Jersey’s blueline took a hit with Kyle Quincey signed and it was a crowded battle anyway between Mozik, Seth Helgeson, Yohann Auvitu, and Steve Santini. Mozik is an early casualty of this battle. Given that the Devils have used at least nine defensemen over a season in the last six seasons, we may see him at some point. But for those of you rooting for Santini or Auvitu to make the roster, then you have to exhale a sigh of relief for now.
This brings the Devils’ camp roster down to four goalies, nine defensemen, and eighteen forwards. That’s a total of thirty one players. There will be more cuts to make and these will be a bit more difficult. I will say congratulations to Auvitu, Helgeson, and Santini for surviving the first set of cuts on defense. At forward, I’m surprised in a good way that Blake Speers and Miles Wood are still around. I also am raising an eyebrow that Rod Pelley is still in New Jersey’s camp as well; I figured Albany’s captain would be moved down ahead of their camp. It also appears Pavel Zacha is sticking around as well.
There’s more work to do for these players and the organization to get ready for the 2016-17 season. With a game tonight, a game on Monday, and a game on Wednesday, I expect final cuts to be made after that Wednesday game. Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood are still in a battle for the backup goaltending spot behind Cory Schneider. The coaches need to decide how many defenders they want to carry and who wins out among the extras. And the forwards need to be cut down as well.
Let me know what you make of these cuts and the chances of those still fighting for a roster spot. Please leave your thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading.