Despite having new owners in Josh Harris and David Blitzer, the New Jersey Devils are scheduled to once again lose money in 2014-15.
According to the report from Tom Gulitti of The Record, Harris and Blitzer — who purchased the team from Jeff Vanderbeek a year ago for $320 million — are still fixing previous financial issues.
The Devils missed the playoffs for a second straight season in 2013-14 and according to Blitzer the team will not turn a profit in 2014-15 even if New Jersey qualifies for the postseason.
“We’re not going to make money this year. Let’s be clear,” said Blitzer. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but our view is to get it to the right place and we know over a longer period of time we do believe we can get it to be a profitable team on the business side or the equation. It is not today. I don’t expect it to be next year, but over time you can’t have a business that over 30 years it doesn’t become a profitable team because that just doesn’t work.”
According to the report, the team had debt issues and was “under invested in” on the business side.
Devils CEO Scott O’Neil points out the team was severely understaffed on the business side with just 76 employees when the new group took over. Since then, the staff has nearly doubled.
The team’s debt isn’t expected to factor into the Devils and GM Lou Lamoriello’s ability to spend money. As it stands, New Jersey sits with less than $5 million to play with.
Lamoriello compared the situation under previous ownership to that of the Phoenix Coyotes saying that he had to report to the league as a result of the team’s financial struggles.
“It was like Phoenix from a hockey standpoint. That was fact,” said Lamoriello. “You had to do things in a different way.”
Lamoriello pointed to the signing of unrestricted free agent Mike Cammalleri and contract extensions to Cory Schneider and Andy Greene as ways things have changed under the new group.
The GM said things are “status quo” with unrestricted free agent Ryan Carter. According to Gulitti, Carter seems to be waiting for the Devils to move a forward before re-signing him.
When asked about restricted free agent Eric Gelinas, Lamoriello said, “We have a month to go. We want to get him signed.”
New Jersey finished the 2013-14 season with a 35-29-18 record and in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
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