There’s a good chance that the New Jersey Devils won’t be very competitive over the next couple of seasons, so where does that leave 29-year-old goaltender Cory Schneider?
Certainly the Devils can come out of their rebuild while Schneider is still in his early 30s, but they are still running the risk of squandering the prime years of his career. It can’t be what Schneider was hoping for when he was first acquired in 2013 to be Martin Brodeur’s successor, but he’s willing to be patient.
“I’m really excited to step up here,” Schneider told NJ Advance Media. “We’re in transition somewhat, but (I’ll) hopefully be a calming presence and a veteran presence, even though I feel I’m a young 29. I hope to put my mark on a franchise and organization and hopefully carry them to a Stanley Cup one day.”
It helps that he’s got an eight-year, $42 million contract that kicks in this season, so he knows there’s a clear opportunity there for him to still be a big part of the Devils when they come out the other end of their rebuilding effort.
New Jersey will be going into the 2015-16 campaign with a young, but promising defense. For the Devils, the bigger question will be their offense, which has been near the bottom of the league for years and might require a meaningfully longer transitional period than the team’s blueline. That offense resulted in him finishing with a 26-31-9 record last season despite posting a 2.26 GAA and .925 save percentage.
New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero’s restructuring of the New Jersey Devils continued on Friday as Paul Castron was brought on to serve as the team’s director of amateur scouting.
Castron will be replacing longtime scouting director David Conte, who the Devils parted ways with earlier this month.
It’s interesting to note that Castron was already serving as the director of scouting with the Columbus Blue Jackets, so at first glance this looks like a lateral move. However, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen had brought on board Ville Siren to oversee the team’s amateur scouting and that hurt Castron’s level of authority, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.
“I would to thank Jarmo Kekalainen and the Columbus Blue Jackets for their cooperation in allowing Paul Castron to join the New Jersey Devils,” said Shero, per the team’s website. “Paul has an outstanding track record of evaluating and developing prospects for more than 20 years. We feel that he has the experience and leadership qualities to help us accomplish our player development goals.”
The Devils have been one of the least successful teams in recent years when it comes to drafting NHL talent while Columbus has been one of the best, as illustrated by this chart from TSN.ca’s Travis Yost.
When will the other shoe drop?
It’s been a little over a month now since the Los Angeles Kings terminated Mike Richards’ contract for a “material breach.” Doing so avoided a costly buyout, but it also opened the door to the NHLPA potentially filing a grievance.
The NHLPA promptly released a statement that it was reviewing the situation and the next day a report emerged that Richards was allegedly involved in a border incident involving the prescription drug oxycodone.
Since then though the NHLPA hasn’t filed a grievance and Richards still hasn’t been charged with anything. So when will we know for certain what Richards’ status is?
Although it’s possible that nothing is imminent, there is a major deadline to consider. The NHLPA only had a 60-day window to file its grievance, so it must take action by Aug. 29 if it plans to do so at all, per TSN. From there the players’ union can request an expedited hearing, potentially opening the door to this matter being settled by training camp.
The union might be waiting in the hope that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will make its intentions known first though. Sgt. Bert Paquet confirmed that the investigation into Richards is still active. However, the RCMP’s deadline to file charges might lead to them making a decision after the NHLPA has to take a position.
“In a federal drug case, and I am not saying this is one, we usually have more than a year before courts say we can no longer prosecute,” Paquet said. “It depends on the actual charges in this case, if there are any. But we’re not worried about that, we have several more months before we’re at the point where that happens.”
If nothing else, the Kings will have a $1.33 million annual cap hit on their books next season due to Richards’ recapture penalty, but if Los Angeles has to buy him out under normal circumstances, that would result in fluctuating cap penalties that would total roughly $14.7 million over 10 years. At its peak, the Kings would be charged $4.2 million annually for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.