All week leading up to July 1, we’ll be profiling unrestricted free agents and speculating where they might end up.
Bryce Salvador (D)
2011-12 cap hit: $2.9 million
An unlikely playoff star for the New Jersey Devils, Salvador’s 14 points were second to only Drew Doughty’s 16 among defensemen.
Not that anyone should expect Salvador to keep scoring at that rate – his career high for regular-season points is 16. But for a team that’s looking for a big, steady blue-liner that can log 20 minutes a night, throw some hits, and block some shots, he could be a match.
Maybe that team is the New Jersey Devils.
“It all comes down to the situation,” Salvador told The Star-Ledger after the Stanley Cup finals. “Before this season I didn’t know what level I’d be able to play at and how I’d feel (after missing last season with a cochlear concussion). My goal coming off the injury was just to re-establish myself and show I could play and be versatile. The (offensive display in the) playoffs was an intangible that just happened. I know I can play a good 2-3 years now. If everything works out well here, it’s been a great fit for me.”
Of course, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has a few other things on his plate. Zach Parise and Martin Brodeur are pending UFAs and there are the team’s financial challenges to consider.
New Jersey already has four defensemen – Anton Volchenkov, Marek Zidlicky, Andy Greene and Henrik Tallinder – under contract with cap hits of $3 million or more. Add youngsters Adam Larsson and Mark Fayne to the mix and there might not be room for Salvador.
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