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.

Scroll Down For:

    Report: 2017 NHL Draft will be held in Chicago

    The NHL hockey draft board is complete at the end of the first round at Prudential Center, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
    Associated Press
    3 Comments

    It looks like the city of Chicago will be hosting the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    The team and the league are expected to confirm the news during an official press conference later today.

    The draft has never been held in the Windy City.

    It may be a little early to project which team will pick first in 2017, but it certainly doesn’t look like it’ll be the ‘Hawks.

    The last time they drafted first overall, they took this guy:

    This also marks the first time since 2011 (Minnesota) that a Western Conference team will play host to the draft.

    Last year’s draft was held in Sunrise, Florida while this year’s edition will be held in Buffalo.

    Hockey reporters everywhere will be thrilled about an additional work assignment in Chicago.

    Here’s what some of them are saying:

     

    PHT Morning Skate: Jagr doesn’t understand why Peyton Manning would retire after winning the Super Bowl

    2 Comments

    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Jaromir Jagr doesn’t believe Peyton Manning should retire. (ESPN)

    Victor Hedman wrote about “How We Play Hockey in Sweden” for The Players’ Tribune.

    –Did the Senators make a smart move by acquiring Dion Phaneuf? (Sportsnet)

    –And if you have a Maple Leafs jersey with Phaneuf’s name on the back, the Sens want to dispose of it:

    –Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Rangers and Penguins. (Top of the page)

    –A Zoolander tribute to Coyotes center Martin Hanzal. (Puck Daddy)

    Steven Stamkos had a run-in with the paparazzi in Montreal. (Bardown)

    Sidney Crosby‘s confidence could be dangerous for the rest of the league:

    Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

    at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
    Getty Images
    1 Comment

    With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

    After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

    It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

    Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

    Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

    Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

    Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.02.42 PM
    5 Comments

    A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

    It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

    Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

    “He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

    “I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

    Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

    Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

    DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.