The New Jersey Devils announced four more cuts from their training camp roster this afternoon. According to the team’s official website, they are Chase Stillman, Robbie Russo, Nate Schnarr, and Brian Flynn. Stillman is being re-assigned to his major junior team, the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League. Russo and Flynn have been placed on waivers; should they clear them, then they will be assigned to Utica. Schnarr has been directly demoted to the Utica Comets.
This announcement is not a big surprise. While all four played in a preseason game in this past week, neither of them had made a significant impact or had any large expectation of making the team. Flynn and Russo were signed primarily for Utica and Schnarr has yet to impress enough at the AHL to warrant a look at the NHL level. I would expect Flynn and Russo to clear waivers unless someone in another organization really likes them. As for Stillman, he needs experience. He was just drafted after a season of only eight season games in a Danish U-20 league and a World U-18 Championship appearance. It makes sense for him and his development to go back to Sudbury and hopefully emerge as one of the OHL’s better forwards.
However, the Devils did not go from 46 to 42 today as they made an addition. The team claimed defenseman Mason Geertsen from waivers this afternoon. (UPDATE: Per a reader by an email, Geertsen has been converted to a forward in recent seasons. This post has been corrected accordingly) The words “size” and “toughness” were used in the subheadline of the team’s announcement on their website, which should give you a good indication as to why he was claimed. Unless you follow the AHL or Vancouver and Edmonton of the WHL, then you may not know who Geertsen is. Per EliteProspects, he is a 26-year old left-shooting defenseman (now forward) listed at 6’4” and 216 pounds. He was drafted by Colorado in the fourth round back in 2013. He did get an ELC with Colorado in 2015, where in he spent his entire time in either the AHL or ECHL racking up PIMs and very few points. Avalanche management did give him a second, one-season deal in 2018. In 2019, Hartford - the AHL affiliate of Our Hated Rivals - signed him to a deal. Our Hated Rivals retained him and he has remained there up until this day where the Devils claimed him off waivers.
I would not expect to see him in Newark. Geertsen has played in zero NHL games in his career. He never got a shot with Colorado or Our Hated Rivals since turning pro in 2015. In his 297 AHL games, Geertsen has put up nine goals, 41 assists, and 519 PIM. From where I stand, this is more or less an acquisition for Utica. Whether it is a good one remains to be seen as there is no shortage of defensemen (or wingers) in the organization between the Devils and Comets. Still, he is an addition and so I wish him the best.
What do you think of the cuts the Devils made today? Will we see more of them made tomorrow? What do you think of the acquisition of Geertsen? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about these moves in the comments. Thank you for reading.