After serving as the New Jersey Devils captain in the past, veteran forward Patrik Elias isn’t interested the club’s captaincy.
New Jersey is looking for a new captain after Bryce Salvador announced his retirement earlier this month.
“I’ve been in that position before,” Elias told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “I think it’s a privilege, no question about it. I would consider it. I’m truly hoping it’s not my last year, but I think there are different guys that would be more suited for that.”
The 39-year-old, who is heading into the final year of his three-year, $16.5 million contract, isn’t completely over being stripped of the ‘C’ on the first day of Devils’ training camp in 2007 under then head coach Brent Sutter.
“It’s just the way it went,” Elias said. “I don’t think it was handled the proper way, not just from Brent Sutter. Not just from him. So, I didn’t want it after that. Maybe in a way, maybe when I had that C, you try to do too much maybe a little bit just because it’s not an easy role. You might not even recognize it, but subconsciously you might worry about things that maybe you shouldn’t. They put you in that role for a reason, because they like what they’ve seen, and you’ve got to keep doing the same things.”
After playing over 1,200 games, all with the Devils, Elias isn’t approaching training camp as if it’s his last in New Jersey.
“I hope not,” he said. “You never know. Whatever happens. If it is, it is. I still like to play, obviously. Time goes by quickly. I enjoy it and as long as I enjoy it, I’m not going to feel like I’m not going to play again.”
For all intents and purposes, it sounds like Ryane Clowe‘s NHL playing days are finished.
That’s the report from the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti, who passes along word from New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero that Clowe “will be unable to play hockey now or in the future.”
Clowe, 32, admits that he’d rather continuing playing for the Devils, yet doctors recommend that he hang up his skates.
Shero told Gulitti that Clowe will go on IR or long-term injured reserve for the remaining three years of his contract, depending upon how his $4.85 million cap hit affects the Devils’ situation.
Clowe’s hard-hitting style helped him earn the five-year, $24.25 million contract the Devils handed him heading into 2013-14, but it ultimately caught up to him.
Concussion issues plagued him almost since day one with the Devils, doing little to silence critics of that deal.
While it’s clear Clowe wanted to try to play, it’s tough to imagine him being a difference-maker without taking physical risks. It’s a shame that Clowe isn’t the one making the call, but it might be the right move.
Carey Price dominated the NHL last season, winning the Hart and Ted Lindsay Trophies in addition to the Vezina, so it seems only fitting that his virtual counterpart would be exactly effective.
Price will be the top goaltender in the upcoming video game NHL 16 with a 94 overall rating, per EA Sports’ release. That’s allowed him to leapfrog Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick, who led all netminders in last year’s ratings. Price’s rise didn’t push either of them down though as he went from a 92 to 94 while Lundqvist and Quick have once again been listed as a 93 going into the season.
Rounding out this year’s top five is Boston’s Tuukka Rask (92) and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne (92). Rask received the same rating last summer, but Rinne is up from his previous mark of 91.
Braden Holtby (91), Sergei Bobrovsky (90), and Cory Schneider (90) are the remaining goaltenders with a rating above 90. That’s a new position for both Holtby and Schneider, although Bobrovsky simply maintained his rating from the year prior.
Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov remained level too with an 89 rating that was good enough for ninth place this season. After a strong showing in his first full campaign as the Anaheim Ducks’ starting goaltender, Frederik Andersen (89) was selected to round out the top 10.
NHL 16 will be out on Sept. 15 in North America and Sept. 17 in Europe.
Scott Gomez was signed by the New Jersey Devils after participating in training camp on a tryout basis last year and it worked out well with him scoring seven goals and 34 points in 58 contests on a team that struggled offensively. History will not repeat itself.
Devils GM Ray Shero confirmed that Gomez, who remains unsigned, won’t receive a professional tryout offer. Steve Bernier, who tied his career-high with 32 points in 67 games last season, won’t be presented with an opportunity to make the team either.
“That’s not a direction I’m looking to go at this point. I think we made a decision back before the draft to let (Bernier) go to free agency and let him go in a different direction,” Shero told NJ Advance Media. “Obviously they haven’t signed anywhere yet, but I’m sure they are working on some things themselves.
“With Scott, as I’ve said before, it really wasn’t so much about him but more us going in a different direction.”
After finishing in the bottom-five of scoring for three consecutive seasons, Shero wants to focus on giving younger players an opportunity. He’s also moved the team’s rebuild forward by selecting Pavel Zacha with the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Shero hasn’t ruled out the possibility of offering tryouts to other players, but it seems the march forward hasn’t left any room for Gomez or Bernier’s return.
In the three seasons since reaching the Stanley Cup Final, the Devils have finished 28th, 27th and 28th overall in average goals-for per game.
During the 2011-12 season, the Devils were 15th overall in average goals-for per game. It was also the last season the club had a 30-goal scorer with Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and David Clarkson all reaching the 30-goal mark.
Last season New Jersey scored an average of 2.15 goals-for per-game ahead of only Arizona (2.01) and Buffalo (1.87).
Mike Cammalleri led the Devils with 27 goals in 2014-15 – his highest total since the 2008-09 season. No other member of the Devils reached the 20-goal mark.
“Looking at the team from the outside, since I just got here, up front is an area we’ll look at,” said Shero after being named the club’s new general manager in May. “We would want to score more goals and create more offense without abandoning a defensive structure and accountability that has been in place for years.”
In an attempt to address the club’s goal-scoring woes, Shero acquired Kyle Palmieri from the Anaheim Ducks for a pair of draft picks in June. The 24-year-old is coming off a season where he matched his career-best for goals (14) in 57 games with the Ducks.
Barring further additions to help the offense, it’s hard to see this Devils team taking a step forward offensively in 2015-16.