How the NJ Devils' salary cap situation looks, post-Arnott trade

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Thumbnail image for Arnott2.jpgWhen it comes to older, somewhat flawed players like Jason Arnott, New Jersey Devils fans shouldn’t be throwing confetti from their office buildings after hearing that the team re-acquired the big center. That being said, I think the deal was pretty solid overall.

Jason Arnott’s $4.5 million can more-or-less be added to Zach Parise’s existing salary after this year since they’ll both need new contracts next summer. The 2011 second round pick the Devils gave up might sting a bit, but allow me to be skeptical that they’ll rue the day they parted with a minimal (at least from what I’ve read) prospect in Matt Halischuk.

I believe I agree with John Fischer from In Lou We Trust; while I made some jokes about Devils GM Lou Lamoriello being nostalgic upon hearing about the Arnott trade, he’s ultimately a nice option as a second center. Fischer used a bunch of formulas that made my brain turn into tapioca pudding, but generally speaking, the book on Arnott is that he’s a big, tough center who brings quite a bit to the table on offense while being suspect at best in his own end.

Considering the defensively responsible team playing around him, I’d say that he’s a solid gamble. (Some have also joked that, with Petr Sykora being an unrestricted free agent, the team should try to reunite the Elias-Arnott-Sykora line that wreaked havoc on the NHL many moons ago.)

While extreme optimists claim that Ilya Kovalchuk could still be a Devil, I think he’s about as likely to return to Newark in black and red as Chris Mason is to play another game as the St. Louis Blues goalie. With that in mind, I thought I’d take an updated look at New Jersey’s salary cap situation. Click to enlarge the screenshot below, taken from the great CapGeek.com.

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Some other key facts:

2010-11 payroll as of this moment: $45.6 million

Estimated cap (VERY subject to change) space: $11.44 million

Biggest free agents: Kovalchuk (likely gone, though), Paul Martin

Players under contract in this setup: 11 forwards, 4 defensemen, 1 goalie

After the jump, I’ll provide some thoughts on their salary cap situation.

The Good

Zach Parise reigns as the biggest non-entry-level bargain in the NHL,
although that will change after next season. Jamie Langenbrunner’s
another super steal, while Travis Zajac will outperform his contract as
long as he sticks with Parise. Andy Greene is a nice, under-the-radar
cheap contract as well. Heck, considering the goalies making more than
him and the fact that he’s been so crucial to the team’s success, Martin
Brodeur’s deal isn’t half-bad, either.

The Bad

The only good news about Brian Rolston’s albatross contract is that
it expires after the 2011-12 season. Patrik Elias isn’t a horrible value
at $6 million, but there were times when I wondered if the deal was a
little steep. Devils fans could enlighten me as to whether or not Colin
White is worth $3 million a year, but I’m inclined to lean toward “No.”

One interesting thing about the Devils is that they don’t have a single contract that runs past the 2012-13 season. Take that, league trend of lifelong contracts! (Although, does that mean Lou Lamoriello is secretly planning to step down then? *scratches chin in deep thought*)

Conclusions

Anyway, the Devils have plenty of room to fill out their roster and
probably will be able to retain Paul Martin. Depending on how they fill
out their roster, they might even be able to squeeze in a cheap veteran
to round out their forwards. Either way, I think that Arnott is a pretty
decent value at $4.5 million, but won’t make or break their Cup winning
chances.

Despite the fact that, clearly, he’s shown the ability to score Cup
winning goals before …

Lightning storm back against Blackhawks, finish one point out of playoffs

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Who would have thought that the Tampa Bay Lightning would rally back from a 4-1 deficit tonight? Then again, who expected them to be so close to a playoff spot mere weeks ago, when they were sellers at the trade deadline?

The Lightning continue to show that they won’t just roll over and die, scoring four unanswered goals to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime on Monday.

While Jonathan Drouin was a catalyst for the second-period rally, it was an unlikely scorer who clinched the victory, as Yanni Gourde ended a thrilling run of 3-on-3 chances with the overtime-winner.

Really, it might have been fitting. Things looked glum when Tomas Jurco scored his first goal of the season against the Lightning, then the mood was totally flipped when Gourde’s second tally of 2016-17 grabbed a huge win.

With the Islanders losing to the Predators, the Hurricanes only managing a “loser point” against the Red Wings and the Bruins idle, Tampa Bay is a breath away from a playoff berth:

Final wild card: Bruins – 84 points in 75 games played

Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP
Islanders – 82 points in 75 GP
Hurricanes – 80 points in 74 GP

Yes, all of a sudden, a long-shot postseason run seems quite attainable.

Maybe the Lightning would prefer it if we kept counting them out, though?

Hurricanes’ Lack taken off on stretcher after collision on Red Wings’ OT goal

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The Carolina Hurricanes fell short of a win on Monday, but their thoughts likely revolve around the health of goalie Eddie Lack instead.

Lack was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a collision during Andreas Athanasiou‘s game-winning goal in overtime. Officials reviewed that the goal counted, giving the Red Wings a 4-3 overtime victory against Carolina.

While it’s been a tough overall season for Hurricanes goalie, Lack has been an integral part of Carolina’s push for a postseason spot. PHT will keep an eye out for updates regarding his condition after this scary collision.

The Red Wings stayed on the ice as Lack was taken off, a nice gesture after an unfortunate accident.

Drouin triggers second-period rally for Lightning vs. Blackhawks

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Just when you think it’s time to count the Tampa Bay Lightning out, they rally back.

It’s been happening overall in 2016-17, and that pattern carried over into Monday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Lightning decided to put Andrei Vasilevskiy back in the net in the second period after he gave up three goals on eight shots in the opening frame … and at first, that looked like a mistake that would do them in. Chicago went up 4-1 and things looked dire.

But, again, the Bolts followed the script when it comes to flipping the script, with Jonathan Drouin triggering a resounding rally in the second.

Droun’s first goal came 11:45 into the second period, followed about a minute later by an Anton Stralman tally. Less than four minutes later, Drouin hit the 20-goal mark with the 4-4 marker on the power play.

First, check out Drouin’s first goal, which began the rally:

Next, witness the 4-4 goal, also by Drouin:

And … just like that, the Lightning tied things up. Wow.

Apparently Drouin created more offense than just his two goals, too:

Impressive. Remember when he seemed like he was out the door last season? Now that feels like another reminder not to give up on this group, no matter how ugly things look at times.

Video will be added when available.

Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

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By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

Here’s the Jurco goal:

Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.