In a surprising move, the Devils announced they will buy out the remainder of both Michael Cammalleri and Devante Smith-Pelly’s contracts. With their newfound cap space, they sit at $32.5 million in space, which includes Ryane Clowe’s contract (which can be applied to Long-Term Injured Reserve if necessary.)
Reasons for Departure
Cammalleri, who missed a few weeks last year with personal matters, had a lackluster year offensively and struggled to contribute on a team in need of offense. His 31 points in 61 games was not enough for Shero to rely on him to produce offense next season. In lieu of the play of John Quenneville and Joseph Blandisi, who both impressed at the end of last season, roster space was tight and the organization elected to get younger and give these players a chance. Since Cammalleri is over the age of 35, he will count $1.6667 against the cap for the next four years.
Devante Smith-Pelly on the other hand did not have a great year by any means. Originally acquired for Stefan Matteau at the 2016 trading deadline, Smith-Pelley caught New Jersey by storm ending the season strong. However, his 2016-17 campaign saw him score 9 points in 53 games, often being a healthy scratch. Both Hynes and Shero have gone on record wanting to rid the team of “passengers” and in all likelihood that is how they viewed Smith-Pelly.
As it stands, the Devils are currently $7 million under the cap floor. With Severson likely wanting a multi-year deal and Beau Bennett still needing to be resigned, it’s probable they will take up some of that space. However, with this influx cap space, the Devils are primed to go after an upper-echelon free agent like Kevin Shattenkirk or Alexander Radulov. Another possible move Ray Shero may have in the works is acquiring a bad contract for young players or assets.
Do you think it was the right move to buy out Cammalleri and Smith-Pelly? Who will the Devils sign to replace their production or will they look internally? Let us know your thoughts and as always, thank you for reading.