Lou Lamoriello

So…what do the Devils do now?


In what was a gut punch day for a number of NHL clubs, none may have been hit harder than the New Jersey Devils. (OK, maybe the Predators.)

With Zach Parise bolting Newark for Minnesota — thanks in no small part to a 13-year, $98 million contract — the Devils are now without their captain and three-time leading scorer.

New Jersey was the only team Parise had known since breaking into the NHL after the lockout. Taken 17th overall by the Devils in 2003, Parise played over 500 regular-season contests and led the club to its first Stanley Cup finals appearance in nine years.

So…what happens now? Here are some things to consider.

— The Devils will need a new captain. Ilya Kovalchuk is one of New Jersey’s alternates and formerly wore the “C” in Atlanta. Patrik Elias, another alternate, is the franchise’s all-time leader in points and goals and served as captain from 2006-07. Travis Zajac and David Clarkson could also be in the mix.

— Parise’s a big loss, no doubt, but New Jersey has survived a number of big free agency losses since the lockout. Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim), Brian Rafalski (Detroit), Scott Gomez (New York Rangers) and Brian Gionta (Montreal) all flew the coop and, like Parise, Niedermayer was New Jersey’s captain before signing with his new team.

— It’ll be interesting to see how, or if, GM Lou Lamoriello responds. Regardless, it won’t be easy. Parise had five 30-goal seasons with the Devils, including a career-best 45 in 2008-09. And New Jersey wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut last year, finishing 15th in goals per game (2.63).

— As far as goalscoring wingers go, the best left on the UFA market are Alex Semin, Shane Doan and Andrei Kostitsyn.

— Speaking of spending, the Devils currently have 20 players under contract for 2012-13 and are $16 million under the cap.

— Also speaking of spending, there’s the matter of the team’s finances. It’s not known whether they came close to offering what the Wild offered or if Lamoriello just backed up the guilt truck.


So…what do the Red Wings do now?

So…what do the Predators do now?

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.