After going unclaimed on unconditional waivers, Dainius Zubrus is no longer a member of the New Jersey Devils and that reality has caught him off guard.
He would have been better prepared for this had it happened during the normal buyout window in June, but at this point he didn’t see it coming. The 37-year-old is hoping that another team will give him a chance to extend his career though.
“At this point, it’s the NHL or nothing. I’m training for the NHL,” Zubrus told NJ Advance Media. “Honestly, I still dream of winning the Stanley Cup. That dream is still there. When summertime training gets tough, I push myself hoping that it will happen.
“I hope to be on a team that makes a good run and gives me a chance.”
He had a chance to talk to Devils GM Ray Shero and understands that this was about clearing up a roster spot. At the same time, Zubrus is aware that he had a “terrible year stats-wise.” He finished with just four goals and 10 points in 74 contests in 2014-15.
He is a veteran of 1,243 games and went to the Stanley Cup Final with Philadelphia in 1997 and New Jersey in 2012, losing both times.
If Peter Chiarelli was more like the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stan Bowman, perhaps he would still be the Boston Bruins general manager.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs thinks Chiarelli has “a great hockey mind,” but ultimately Boston found itself in a difficult situation.
“It’s a cap environment we find ourselves in here, and you’ve got to look to the future,” Jacobs told CSN New England. “If you watch the success of the Chicago team, and I do admire them quite a bit, they dealt with their high-priced players early on and kept creating room. Every year, there was a change, not too unlike the change we see here (this year). We see some great players going elsewhere. Even to this year, you see very successful teams have met that problem.
“We didn’t deal with it in a timely enough manner and we found ourselves in a cap position that wasn’t attractive for us.”
As Jacobs alluded to, new Bruins GM Don Sweeney traded away Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic this summer in moves that improved the Bruins’ cap situation. Although Jacobs said that the decision to fire Chiarelli was ultimately made by his son, Charlie, and team president Cam Neely, the Bruins owner does feel that Chiarelli “wasn’t prepared to make the changes that needed to be made.”
Of course, a willingness to trade good players to avoid getting into cap problems isn’t everything. Sweeney’s era with Boston will ultimately be dictated in large part based on the return on those deals as well as Boston’s success in the draft because the thing about maintaining a high level of play as Chicago has is that you’ll need capable replacements for those you were forced to part ways with.
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.
Jonathan Quick wrote a great piece on the strengths of some of the league’s biggest offensive threats. (The Players’ Tribune)
Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno feels the Brandon Saad acquisition is “a big statement.” (Bluejackets.nhl.com)
Speaking of Saad, he used his day with the Stanley Cup to bring it to the 911th Airlift Wing. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
The upcoming 2016 Winter Classic will be particularly special for Mass. natives Brian Flynn and Jimmy Hayes. (NHL.com)
By signing Sean Couturier to a six-year, $26 million, the Philadelphia Flyers are betting that he’ll grow his game offensively. (CSN Philly)