The New Jersey Devils have their hands full this off-season to say the least. On their docket they havd to look for a new head coach (again) as well as decide what they’re going to do about negotiating with soon-to-be unrestricted free agents forward Ilya Kovalchuk and defenseman Paul Martin. Paul Martin, however, wants some assurances first.
Meanwhile, Martin told The Post that he and GM Lou Lamoriello agreed to wait until after a new Devils coach is hired to discuss contract. That scenario could be troublesome, considering that Jacques Lemaire was hired last July 13 and other teams could swoop up Martin, who made $4.5 million last season, on July 1.
Martin waiting to see who will be named coach isn’t exactly a subtle shot across the bow for Lamoriello and could provide the first in what may turn out to be franchise method changing decisions for the Devils. We all know the Devils don’t exactly employ the most offensively flexible way of playing hockey. With hugely gifted offensive stars like Zach Parise just itching for some freedom, a puck-moving offensively gifted defenseman like Paul Martin waiting things out to see who the boss will be says a lot for what at least he wants to see happen. Martin also has all the leverage here.
There’s not exactly a lot of greatness to be had when it comes to defensemen on the free agent market this summer as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun talked about earlier this year. Aside from Martin you’ve got Sergei Gonchar out there and Stephane Robidas as well. The difference between guys like Robidas and Gonchar with Paul Martin is that Martin is decidedly younger. Gonchar is 36 years-old while Robidas is 33 and Martin is just 29. If you’re a team looking to improve your blue line the easy yet expensive way, getting someone with a skill set like what Paul Martin has could and should be the way to go.
Now the question that remains is, will Loophole Lou blink first? If history tells us anything, the answer is a firm, “No.”
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.