The New Jersey Devils were off today but will be gearing for a preseason game in Winnipeg on Thursday and then heading off to Switzerland and Sweden for games next week. The Binghamton Devils also started their training camp today. Therefore, New Jersey made a few more cuts this evening and the team officially tweeted out the news.
New Jersey has assigned forwards Joey Anderson, Michael McLeod and Marian Studenic to @BingDevils.— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) September 26, 2018
In addition, the club has placed forward Nick Lappin on waivers.
Nick Lappin was placed on waivers at noon today, as confirmed here by James Mirtle. If he clears tomorrow he can be re-assigned. Lappin did great in the first preseason game against the Rangers and was entirely invisible in the second preseason game against the Rangers. The other three have been more frequent in preseason as well as really young. Joey Anderson, Marian Studenic, and Michael McLeod received plenty of minutes in prospect and preseason games. They can be pleased that they earned more than just a quick look in one game. The first-year professionals will head to the B-Devils to take their game to the next level.
This should not be seen as the end of them for 2018-19 as they could all be called up should they perform well and should New Jersey need another forward. In fact, Lappin has been called up to fill in for injuries before, so he’s familiar with the process. Don’t be surprised if we see him or any of the other three at some point during the coming regular season.
That’s four players cut. Who’s the fifth one? He sort of slipped under the radar. The New Jersey Devils announced that they signed defenseman Jeremy Groleau to an entry level contract this morning. Groleau has been an invited player to past development camps and prospect games. He did not appear in preseason but he remained in camp. Groleau was not drafted, so he certainly shown enough to have the Devils want him in the system for at least another three seasons. Congratulations to Groleau. The ELC is not a maximum contract according to the details at CapFriendly, but it is a good chunk of change. At the end of the announcement at the team’s official website, he has been re-assigned to his junior team, the Chicoutimi Sangueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, today. That’s the fifth cut.
By the process of elimination, this means the following non-NJ-roster-last-season players are still with the New Jersey Devils: John Quenneville, Brett Seney, Kevin Rooney (he’s not on the B-Devils camp roster), Eric Gryba, Egor Iakovlev (Yakovlev), Ty Smith and MacKenzie Blackwood. Unless I missed it, Drew Stafford is also still with the team on a professional tryout contract. It will be interesting as to which of these players (or all of them?) are going to play on Thursday. While the Devils will be traveling out to Winnipeg, they would have to make some more cuts to get to a 23-man roster by October 1. Both opening day rosters are due and cap compliance starts at 5 PM ET on October 2 (source: CapFriendly), so anyone who has to go through waivers has to be on them by the 1st. So this Thursday’s game is going to lead to some final decisions - assuming they are not going to happen tomorrow or before the game on Thursday.
Four at a minimum will need to be made since I anticipate Cory Schneider will start the season on injured reserve. I’m fairly certain Blackwood will eventually head back to Binghamton. There is no need for the Devils to have him around. If the Devils decide to not sign Stafford - and why would they since he has not really done a lot in preseason? - then that’s two cuts right there. Assuming he was let go and it was completely missed. That’s two potential cuts right there.
The third and fourth ones will be harder. I think one would have to be on defense because I do not see the value in carrying nine defenders. Smith would be the easiest to cut as he could just be re-assigned to juniors. Gryba is probably the most deserving since I do not think he is necessary or adds all that much. Iakovlev has not done a whole lot either but given he was a signing from the KHL, demotion risks having him leave entirely. However even just one NHL appearance will make him waiver-eligible, and he could be snatched up by another team. It is not an easy choice. Speaking of forwards, I really do not see the value of keeping Kevin Rooney around ahead of Seney or Quenneville. Rooney did not even play on Monday and he did not play much in the other games. If it were me, I’d demote Gryba and Rooney. Smith can get a taste of the NHL and head back to juniors, leaving the Devils with seven defensemen to go with thirteen forwards. This all presumes that there will be no major injuries, of course.
The end of camp is nigh for the Devils. The 23-man roster is almost determined. Who will be the last to cut? What do you make of Lappin, McLeod, Studenic, and Anderson being cut? Do you think Groleau will prove his worth for that ELC in the Q this season? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the cuts and the Devils’ camp roster in the comments. Thank you for reading.