Ryane Clowe will join the Devils for their upcoming two-game road swing through Chicago and Nashville, but GM Lou Lamoriello was quick to shoot down any suggestion this is a step in Clowe’s return to game action:
Though unsurprising — Clowe’s missed 80 games over the last two years while dealing with concussion issues — it’s a sobering update with regards to the 32-year-old’s future in New Jersey. Clowe is only in the second of a five-year, $24.25 million deal with a $4.85M cap hit and while the club could seek financial relief through long-term injured reserve, Clowe has become the poster boy for Lamoriello’s penchant of gambling large on veteran players in free agency.
Sometimes, the strategy has paid off — Mike Cammalleri and Jaromir Jagr are two of the club’s three leading scorers this season, for example. But in other cases, leaning on veteran UFAs has backfired; 34-year-old Michael Ryder, a repeated healthy scratch this season, is making $3.5 million annually and 33-year-old Martin Havlat — who, admittedly, came relatively cheap at $1.5M — has been a virtual non-factor, scoring just nine points in 36 games.
Based on today’s update, it’s fair to wonder if Clowe’s career is in jeopardy. And if that’s the case, it’ll be an inglorious end to his time in New Jersey; since signing with the club in the summer of ’13, he’s only made 56 appearances in a Devils uniform.
The New Jersey Devils’ season is slipping away from them after winning just two of their last 11 games, but they’ll get some help tonight as they attempt to right the ship.
Forwards Patrik Elias, Martin Havlat, and Michael Ryder have all been activated off of the injured reserve list, per the Devils’ Twitter feed. Joe Whitney will return to AHL Albany.
For Elias and Ryder, this marks their return to the NHL after being victims of the mumps outbreak.
“I looked like I was out of hockey for 10 years and had a second chin,” Elias remarked, per the Bergen Record.
Havlat didn’t have the mumps, but still missed four straight games with an illness.
During their absence, head coach Peter DeBoer was fired and GM Lou Lamoriello began his unorthodox approach of having Adam Oates or Scott Stevens serve as co-coaches with Lamoriello temporarily overseeing the transition from behind the bench.
The Devils have gone 1-2-0 under the new system. They will play against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
Perhaps Devils GM Lou Lamoriello decided to give the team multiple quasi-head coaches because he’s worried about one of them spending time in the Devils’ sickbay.
New Jersey is unfortunately one of the hardest hit teams by the mumps outbreak. Forward Patrik Elias became the third Devils’ player to be diagnosed with the mumps on Friday after Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson. Today it was revealed that Michael Ryder has the disease as well, per the Bergen Record.
The illness has also spread to the Devils’ affiliate, the AHL Albany Devils, as 37-year-old goaltender Scott Clemmensen is battling the mumps.
The Devils will get back Dainius Zubrus (leg) and Jacob Josefson (groin) tonight though. Along with the anticipated recall of Tim Sestito, New Jersey will have 11 healthy forwards for their game against the New York Rangers.