Devils may start season with just 20 players thanks to salary cap crunch

NewJerseyDevils_logo.gifWe all know that the Devils have some cap issues to deal with by now. They’ve also got some injury problems as well and both fortunately and unfortunately for them, they can use those two issues to help themselves out of a bit of a mess.

Defensemen Bryce Salvador and Anssi Salmela are expected to begin the season on the LTIR which gives the Devils room to go over the cap by the amount of their combined salaries. Even though that hasn’t happened yet, that solution is being counted on to happen and would only allow the Devils to start the year with the minimum 20 players needed to ice a team each night. Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice examines the possibility.

Nothing is certain yet, but as the signs pointed today to the Devils going with only 20 players on their roster to meet Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline to be under the salary cap, there was a definite feeling of relief among the players that were possible candidates to be moved.

Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner admited he felt “a little bit” of relief that it appears he will still be with the team when it opens the regular season Friday night at Prudential Center against Dallas..

“It looks like this is what it’s going to be going forward for a while,” Langenbrunner said. “Everyone will have to fend for their health, but for now the focus is on Friday. All of us in this business know that there’s never going to be relief any time, so I don’t think it’s that’s big of a deal for us. (But) we knew something was going to happen or we thought something would, so there’s a little bit of relief.”

The trick with going with just the minimum of 20 players is that you can’t afford minor injuries to anyone. If an injury isn’t serious enough to put a guy on LTIR (which means a minimum of 24 days lost or 10 games missed) the team can’t do much to replace that player on the roster. As it is, by putting Salmela and Salvador on LTIR, it gives the Devils about $85,000 in cap space.

What that means is if the team wants to bring in Adam Mair, who’s been in camp on a professional tryout, they’ll need to move someone out to free up the cap space, even to sign him to a NHL minimum contract. It makes life difficult for Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, but it’s a situation he was more than well aware of.

As it is, hearing the team will only go with a 20-man roster is a huge relief to players like Dainius Zubrus, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Rolston, and Colin White who have had their names bandied about in trade rumors and waiver speculation. Their jobs are safe for now, but once it’s time for Salmela and Salvador to return, things will change.

For now, the Devils just have to keep their heads about them and make sure they don’t get dinged up. With six games in the season’s first nine days, that could be a tall order for the Devils.

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    Julien says Lundqvist’s acting ‘doesn’t need to be on the ice’


    The goalie interference penalty called on Brad Marchand late in Friday’s Thanksgiving Showdown didn’t sit well with the Bruins.

    Marchand, whistled after making contact with New York’s Henrik Lundqvist midway through the third, said he thought “it was a bit of a weak call,” adding “[Lundvqist’s] out of the crease, and he lightly gets touched.”

    While Marchand took issue with the call, his head coach took issue with King Henrik.

    (In Julien’s defense, Lundqvist does have a pretty lengthy IMDB page.)

    The interference penalty was nearly disastrous for the Bruins, as J.T. Miller scored on the ensuing power play to given the Blueshirts a 3-2 edge.

    However, Boston replied with a power-play goal of its own — Ryan Spooner, at the 16:14 mark — which set the stage for David Krejci‘s dramatic game-winner with just under two minutes to go.

    So, to recap: Today’s game had the Beleskey hit on Stepan, the Marchand-Lundqvist theatrics and a dramatic come-from-behind victory for Boston.

    And so, to answer your next question:

    These two teams next meet on Monday, Jan. 11, at MSG.

    Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

    Video: Peluso, Gabriel throw down in spirited heavyweight tilt

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    The big boys got after it early in Minnesota today.

    Wild forward Kurtis Gabriel — all 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds of him — picked one of the toughest opponents in hockey on Friday, throwing down with Jets enforcer Anthony Peluso early in the first period.

    And it was a pretty good tilt.

    Peluso, one of the league’s most feared fighters, was coming off two pretty heavy scraps — one against Columbus tough guy Jared Boll, and another in which he landed some serious shots on overmatched Canucks d-man Luca Sbisa:

    Of course, Gabriel’s no slouch.

    He had one previous fight in the NHL this year (against Peluso’s teammate, Chris Thorburn) and five in the American League, where he’s spent the majority of this season.

    Given the fisticuffs that occurred earlier in the Bruins-Rangers game, it seem the NHL has really gotten into the spirit of Black Friday.

    (All videos courtesy

    Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

    Matt Beleskey, Derek Stepan

    Alain Vigneault remembers a late hit that happened in Boston one time.

    The Rangers’ head coach referenced it today after one of his top centers, Derek Stepan, was injured on a check that the NHL may need to review with a stopwatch.

    “I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” Vigneault said, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

    For those that need their memories refreshed (nobody in Vancouver does, that’s for sure), here’s Rome’s late hit that knocked Nathan Horton out of the 2011 final with a concussion:

    Now here’s the hit that Matt Beleskey put on Stepan:

    According to Vigneault, Stepan has some broken ribs and is out indefinitely.

    Over to you, Department of Player Safety.


    A league source has confirmed that the hit is being reviewed.

    High-flying Bruins (sounds weird to say) beat Rangers for fifth straight win


    Somebody tell the Boston Bruins there’s a goal-scoring crisis in the NHL.

    This afternoon, for the 14th time this season, a Bruins game featured at least six goals. The final score was 4-3, as Boston came back to beat the Rangers in a wildly entertaining Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC.

    David Krejci scored the winner with 1:43 remaining. Krejci’s goal came just 2:03 after teammate Ryan Spooner had tied it on the power play.

    The win was the Bruins’ fifth straight. Though the defensive mistakes remain…

    …Claude Julien’s troops have been finding ways to overcome them.

    The running and gunning Boston Bruins.

    When was the last time you could call them that?