After last night’s 7-1 beatdown of Our Hated Rivals, Amanda Stein tweeted that the New Jersey Devils coaching staff has decided on their first cuts to their training camp roster. The Devils made made it official this morning. According to the team’s official website, four players have been demoted to Utica. The four are forward Ryan Schmelzer, goaltender Marek Mitens, defenseman Michael Vukojevic, and defenseman Jeremy Groleau.
Schmelzer and Mitens were going to be cut at some point. Both are on AHL contracts. They could not make the New Jersey roster unless they received a new contract. Neither played in either of the team’s two preseason games. As Utica’s training camp is starting real soon (Monday) and their preseason begins next Friday, the time was now to start moving players down. Given their contract status and lack of usage, they were logical choices to be moved down first.
Vukojevic and Groleau were also among the very likely to join the Utica Comets out of camp. As defensemen, there are a lot of players ahead of each on the depth chart. Short a miracle, they were not going to make it. However, both can say they did get a preseason game this year. And that preseason game was a blowout bonanza against Our Hated Rivals. It is a lot better than nothing.
With Utica’s training camp starting on Monday, I would expect more cuts to be made after today’s game against the Islanders in Bridgeport. Pay attention to who is and is not in the lineup for an idea of who that could be. The Devils now have 46 players in camp. All four players on try-outs are still in camp and the remaining 42 are eligible to play in the NHL next season. More decisions will continue throughout the coming days as the Devils have to set their 23-man active roster for the season that begins on October 15.
Who do you think is next to be cut? When do you think the next round will come? Please leave your guesses and thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading.