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 …

Senators’ prospect Colin White out 6-8 weeks with broken wrist

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Bad news for the Ottawa Senators today.

The club announced Tuesday that prospect center Colin White is out six to eight weeks with a broken left wrist.

The Senators selected White 21st overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. After two years at Boston College, he signed his entry-level deal in April and appeared in two regular season games for Ottawa. He also appeared in a Stanley Cup playoff game, though he only saw 2:39 of ice time.

That’s certainly disappointing for White, who could’ve had a shot to make the big club out of training camp. One of the question marks for Ottawa had been the status of fellow center Derick Brassard, who had offseason shoulder surgery with a recovery timeline of four to five months.

“I come here and worry about myself, do the right things on and off the ice, take care of my body. If I’m playing well and taking care of my game, I’ll fight for a spot,” White told the Ottawa Citizen prior to training camp.

It was a little on the foggy side for Canucks practice in Shanghai

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The Vancouver Canucks dealt with some adverse conditions as they hit the ice at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai in preparation for this week’s 2017 NHL China Games exhibition series versus the L.A. Kings.

According to the pictures, it was a little on the foggy side for their practice.

Is that . . . Henrik Sedin in the distance?

The Canucks and Kings face off Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Arena, before traveling to Beijing for Saturday’s game at Wukesong Arena.

The good news? It appears the fog was lifted in time for the Kings’ practice.

NHL cracking down on slashing, faceoff violations to begin preseason

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The NHL has made it a point to crack down on slashing for the upcoming regular season. With the preseason underway, the foundation for the new standard is being set.

Dating back to late June, the NHL had vowed to call slashing more closely after a number of incidents last season, including Marc Methot‘s gruesome finger injury, which was the result of a slash to the hands from Sidney Crosby.

Monday’s game between the Islanders and Rangers featured nine slashing minor penalties. The Devils and Capitals were only 41 seconds into their preseason game Monday when Jimmy Hayes was called for slashing. A total of six slashing minors were called in that game — not to mention three faceoff violations.

From the Washington Post:

There’s been talk of being harder on slashing following several wrist, hand and finger injuries last season from dangerous stick work. “Now, as soon as your stick is off the ice and you touch the other players’ stick or hands, it was zero tolerance today,” Eller said. More surprising was the three faceoff violation penalties called in the first period of the game. That also represented a new emphasis from the league. “Cheating” on faceoffs has been commonplace, and for centers who’ve made their name winning faceoffs with a certain style and routine, staying perfectly within the red lines in the circle was an adjustment.

According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, the Senators-Maple Leafs game Monday also featured three faceoff violations. It appears right now there will be quite an adjustment for players across the league to the apparent crackdown on slashing and faceoff violations, especially early on.

However, will this be the standard for the entire season? For the playoffs?

“I have a tough time believing that in the playoffs, in Game 7, that kind of call is going to be made,” Mark Letestu told Sportsnet. “Right now, there’s an overemphasis on it, and hopefully it doesn’t go all the way back to where it was.”

Video: No. 1 pick Hischier scores ‘tenacious’ goal in Devils preseason debut

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Nico Hischier, the first overall pick from this year’s NHL Draft, provided quite a glimpse into the type of player he can be for the New Jersey Devils during his first preseason game on Monday.

The Devils recorded a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals, with Hischier’s goal late in the third period putting it away. For Devils fans at Prudential Center, this should provide a little more optimism for a club that has looked to upgrade its offensive attack this offseason.

Hischier hounded Capitals forward Kevin Elgestal in the neutral zone, and eventually stole the puck while splitting two Washington players for the breakaway. In all alone, Hischier made no mistake, sliding the puck under the pad of goalie Vitek Vanecek.

“His skating was a factor. He was competitive on the puck,” said Devils coach John Hynes, per NJ.com.

“As the game went on, the second and third period, he started to make a few more plays, and I think he got adjusted to the time and space and battle level that was out there. You see the goal, he was really tenacious on the puck. He hunted it, had the second effort and a great stick to create the turnover. His work ethic put him in position for half a breakaway, and that’s when his skill takes over.”

While Nolan Patrick had for months been talked about as a potential No. 1 overall pick, Hischier put together an impressive year in the QMJHL and when the time came for the Devils to make their selection, they went with the 18-year-old Swiss center over Patrick.

It will be interesting to see exactly what role the Devils give Hischier this season, although the plan since the draft has been to give him every chance to make the NHL club right out of camp. Per NorthJersey.com, Hynes discussed the topic of Hischier in a potential top center role following Monday’s game.

“Certainly he has the skills and the hockey sense to play in that role but is he really ready for that?” said Hynes. “We’ll put him in a situation that will benefit him the most and the team the most.”