Cory Schneider

It’s New Jersey Devils day on PHT


Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The New Jersey Devils.

The New Jersey Devils made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, but there were some major concerns going into the 2013 campaign. Not the least of which was their aging goaltending duo of Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg, who turned 41 and 40 respectively in May.

On top of that, they lost forward Zach Parise to the Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2012 and Adam Henrique was still a question mark despite a standout rookie season.

At first none of that seemed to faze them as they got off to a 8-1-3 start. However, New Jersey struggled offensively and began a gradual decline that turned into a free fall when Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a shoulder injury. Kovalchuk missed 11 straight games and the Devils lost 10 of them — a fact which carries even greater weight now.

The Devils bounced back when the Russian superstar rejoined them, but it was too late. New Jersey finished with 48 points in 48 games, putting them seven shy of the playoffs.

Offseason recap

Oh boy.

Their summer did start out on a positive note. The longstanding question of who would take over for Brodeur was answered when they acquired goaltender Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for the ninth selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (Bo Horvat).

They also managed to re-sign Patrik Elias to a three-year, $16.5 million deal and while the Devils lost David Clarkson, they attempted to replace his offense and grit with free agents Ryane Clowe and Michael Ryder.

Then Ilya Kovalchuk “retired” so he could head to the KHL. The move sent shock waves through the hockey world and while getting out of that 15-year, $100 million contract might actually be beneficial in the long-term, it certainly leaves a huge gap in their offense right now. They couldn’t replace Kovalchuk, but they did get some help by signing Jaromir Jagr.

As if their summer wasn’t eventful enough, Joshua Harris and David Blitzer purchased the New Jersey Devils from former owner Jeff Vanderbeek. Harris and Blitzer both work for private equity firms and each own a stake in the Philadelphia 76ers.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.