Mark Everson of the New York Post is speculating on a move the New Jersey Devils are going to make in order to accommodate the eventual addition of Ilya Kovalchuk’s salary. While there are many options the Devils could run with in order to fit under the salary cap in the wake of signing Kovalchuk (whenever that happens), Everson suggests that one of the team’s top centers is the guy that will go.
It’s difficult to fathom, but rumors are floating that Travis Zajac may be among the players the Devils will eventually sacrifice to get under the salary cap if Ilya Kovalchuk’s $100 million, 15-year contract is approved by the NHL.
Conventional wisdom suggests Bryce Salvador ($2.9 million) and Dainius Zubrus ($3.4 million) are the obvious candidates to surrender for the $3-5 million in cap space the Devils would need to clear by the start of the season if Kovalchuk’s deal is approved.
The one part of this that even makes any sense at all is that Zajac is the most attractive player to other teams that the Devils could move. Of course, giving up Zajac makes the Devils an older team up the middle and they’d be giving away a player who has really blossomed with the Devils.
They’ve got two players with obscene salaries that would immediately help the Devils salary issues if they were to depart in the aforementioned Dainius Zubrus as well as Brian Rolston (a $5.062 million cap hit the next two years). Of course, finding a team desperate enough to swing a deal for either of them would be nothing short of a miracle.
Finding a way to deal Zubrus would also give the Devils a chance to work prospect Jacob Josefson into the lineup. Dealing off Salvador would give Matt Corrente an opportunity to play or perhaps open the door to bringing back Mike Mottau. For now though, all we have is speculation but know that Kovalchuk signing will bring about change of some kind to the Devils roster.