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Notable Comebacks in Devils History: Chris Terreri

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Goaltender Chris Terreri made his return to the New Jersey Devils organization not just once, not twice, but three times.

New Jersey Devils 1995 Stanley Cup Championship Reunion Charity Game Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Terreri in NJ, Round 1

The Devils drafted Chris Terreri in in the fifth round of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. He officially began his NHL career in 1986, though he didn’t become a fixture on the ice until 1989. He was initially a backup to Sean Burke, but battled his way to the starting spot among some performance issues and off-ice drama from Burke. He played the main role for the next few years including the Devils organization’s first few tastes of playoff hockey until the 1993-94 season, when a series of injury and other odd factors surrounding the expected backup goaltenders lead the Devils to call up rookie Martin Brodeur. Brodeur quickly took a roster spot rivaled Terreri for the starting goaltender position. The Devils suddenly had themselves a new young starter so it was in everyone’s best interest to pack a potential starter like Terreri off to the highest bidder. In November of the 1995-1996 season, Terreri was traded to the San Jose Sharks for San Jose’s second round pick in 1996 - which was later moved to Pittsburgh.

Terreri in NJ, Round 2

San Jose traded Terreri to Chicago in 1997 where he had another chance at a cup run before losing to the Avalanche in the conference quarterfinals. Chicago later returned Terreri home to New Jersey in a trade in the summer of 1998 for a conditional pick in 1999. Now a seasoned backup, Terreri played a decent second fiddle to Brodeur and picked up games where needed.

In June of 2000, the NHL expanded and Minnesota claimed Chris Terreri in the expansion draft from the New Jersey Devils. On the exact same day they traded Terreri back to the Devils along with a 2000 9th round pick for 3rd year defenseman Brad Bombardir. So he technically left a second time, but not really.

Terreri would live to play another season in New Jersey until the trade deadline in 2001. Sporadic playing time wreaked havoc on Terreri’s consistency in net, and with the defending champions chasing another cup run in 2001, the Devils knew they would need a backup they could rely on behind Brodeur. Terreri was no longer that player, so in March of 2001 he found himself part of a goalie swap with the New York Islanders for John Vanbiesbrouck (and a 9th round pick in 2001).

Terreri in NJ, Round 3

Chris Terreri just could not stay away from the Devils organization. He finished his final season with Long Island and retired to return home to the organization that drafted him, though in a slightly different capacity— Terreri joined the coaching staff of the Albany River Rats as an assistant beginning in the 2001-02 season. In 2005 he transitioned to a goaltending coach for a final season with Albany before moving to a goaltending coach position with the Lowell Devils beginning in 2006. When the Lowell Devils moved to Albany in 2010 Terreri moved as well but to Newark to join as goaltending coach for the big club.

Terreri would remain with the organization until 2017 for a total of 16 years of coaching goaltenders before being relieved in favor of Rollie Melanson in 2017. Terreri has since gone back to his final team in Long Island as a member of the NYI/Bridgeport Sound Tigers goaltending development program.

Final Thoughts

Terreri’s tenure as a coach in the Devils organization did not come with a whole lot of success unfortunately. Albany did not quality for the playoffs during a single season he was there. Lowell only qualified in the final year he was there. And NJ from 2010 to 2017 were pretty solid non-contenders with the exception of 2012. His bad luck does not seem to have followed him back to Long Island however, so kudos to him and Lamoriello for that. Regardless of his record as a player or coach, Terreri won two cups with New Jersey and spent roughly 30 years with the organization spread through multiple comeback efforts and for that we appreciate him. Any thoughts/memories of Terreri you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below and thanks for reading! (Note: All images are from Terreri’s profile at Elite Prospects.)