The Devils locked in another netminder on Monday, agreeing to a contract extension with third-stringer Scott Wedgewood.
The deal is two years at $1.175 million — an average annual cap hit of $587,500 — and is of the two-way variety. Wedgewood, 22, was taken by New Jersey in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has spent the last three seasons with AHL Albany, appearing in 36 games in each of the last two.
Prior to new GM Ray Shero coming aboard, the Devils had inked No. 2 goalie Keith Kinkaid to a two-year, $1.45 million extension. Kinkaid earned the deal after his first full season as Cory Schneider’s backup, in which he fared well — the 25-year-old went 6-5-4 in 19 appearances, posting a .915 save percentage and 2.59 GAA.
So for the next two years, the Devils have Schneider and Kinkaid at the NHL level and Wedgewood locked in as the No. 3. Now all that’s left is to figure out the rest of the roster.
On Friday, the New Jersey Devils announced that Chris Terreri would remain on as the club’s goaltending coach, essentially completing new bench boss John Hynes’ coaching staff.
Terreri, 50, has served the club as goaltending coach since 2009-10, after spending eight seasons in a similar role at the American Hockey League level. His hire came after a lengthy playing career in which he won a pair of Cups with the Devils — in 1995 and 2000 — and appeared in over 400 NHL contests all told.
His presence on Hynes’ staff is significant. Following the departure of longtime GM Lou Lamoriello for the newly-minted Ray Shero, the Devils have undergone a significant change in which much of the “old guard” — including Lamoriello favorites Adam Oates and Scott Stevens — were pushed out. Oates and Stevens were replaced by Alain Nasreddine and Geoff Ward, but Terreri will remain in place to continue working with Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid.
Lou Lamoriello announced today that he’ll be handing over the general manager’s job to Ray Shero while retaining his position as team president. Shero appreciates all that Lamoriello has done since taking over in 1987, but in light of New Jersey’s recent struggles, he also wants to do things a bit differently.
“Lou and I have discussed a lot of things as far as philosophy. I’m not Lou and I’m not like Lou. And he’s not like me. We’re different,” Shero told NJ Advance Media. “There are a lot of different philosophies that we do share, but when you look Pittsburgh and New Jersey they are certainly different teams.
“You look at the Devils and it’s about his defensive philosophy. That’s been very successful for them. But in terms of where the are now and moving forward to be successful, let’s be honest. There has to be a complement of that with a philosophy of offensive hockey and scoring more goals. If not, there is not much room for error. Without that, goaltending and team defense can only take you so far.”
Shero has a lot of experience with offensively gifted teams from his days with Pittsburgh, but then, he had plenty to work with in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Devils ranked 28th in goals per game last season, but it’s not as if their defense-first approach has always gone hand-in-hand with offensive anemia. New Jersey was a middle-of-the-road team offensively in 2011-12 when it last made the playoffs and went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Back then the Devils had Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Zach Parise leading the charge though. Parise and Kovalchuk have since left the team while Elias turned 39 in April.
Filling the void left by the departure of superstars is an extremely difficult task, but it’s the one Shero inherited. He’s already got a strong goaltending tandem in Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid and a promising blueline. Whether or not he is able to elevate the Devils’ offense to at least respectable levels could determine how his tenure with New Jersey will ultimately be viewed.