New Jersey Devils

All quiet between Devils and UFAs Bernier, Gomez

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New Jersey’s penchant for leaning on veteran skaters could soon be coming to an end.

Pending UFAs Steve Bernier, 30, and Scott Gomez, 35, haven’t heard much of anything from new GM Ray Shero about their futures with the club, per the Bergen Record.

Bernier said his agent, Kent Hughes, also has yet to hear from Shero about his contract. So, though Bernier is understanding about how busy Shero has been, he also has to prepare for the possibility that the Devils might not want him back and see what other teams would be interested if/when he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“Obviously, it’s the same for every player,” Bernier said. “We don’t know where New Jersey stands in terms of me, so we have no choice but to talk to other teams and see what’s available.”

That’s not his first choice, though.

“I don’t know if I should be, but I’m still positive that New Jersey might call,” Bernier said. “I’m hoping, actually. I’m hoping they’re going to call, but you need to be prepared to move if you have a chance to. My family likes it a lot in New Jersey, so, hopefully, we’re going to know a lot more before July 1.”

Center Scott Gomez’s agent, Ian Pulver, said that there was “nothing to report” as far as contract talks with the Devils other than some initial contact from Shero.

While it’s been widely assumed the team’s other veteran UFAs — Martin Havlat and Michael Ryder most specifically — were done in New Jersey, there was some belief the Devils could retain Bernier and Gomez, based largely on their impressive performances last season.

Bernier tied for second on the team with 16 goals while playing on a relatively inexpensive one-year, $600,000 deal. Gomez, who made $550,000, was even better — he finished tied for third on the team in scoring, with 34 points, and led all skaters with 27 assists.

PHT Morning Skate: (Video) Vince Vaughn’s passionate about Blackhawks

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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.

Vince Vaughn recently spoke about his love for the Blackhawks and, prior to Game 4, why he thinks Chicago will ultimately win this series:

Scott Gomez talks about one of his first practices with the Devils and his unusual introduction to Ken Daneyko. The story is then retold from Daneyko’s point of view. Be warned that there’s strong language in this piece. (The Players’ Tribune)

The Kelly Cup Final is going to Game 7. (ECHL.com)

Just to highlight the sky high expectations being thrust on Connor McDavid, this picture of him with Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky has taken off:

Gretzky also recently talked about McDavid, saying that he’d “be the first guy to shake his hand if he breaks my records.” (Canadian Press)

Two Catholic leaders have put a wager on the Stanley Cup Final. (NBC Chicago)

Salvador won’t decide on future before training camp

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Defenseman Bryce Salvador hasn’t played since Nov. 10 due to a back injury and at the age of 39, there’s a real possibility that his playing career is over. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and rather than immediately seek another contract, he plans to keep his options open over the summer.

“I won’t make a decision like that until training camp or after training camp,” Salvador told The Record. “It’s too tough to make a decision like that right now.”

He’s okay with the idea of entering training camp on a tryout basis and he even joked that he could follow Scott Gomez’s path as the veteran forward didn’t sign with New Jersey until Nov. 30.

In the meantime he’s resumed skating, but his health won’t be the only factor as he has family matters that need to be taken into consideration.

It also remains to be seen how much interest the Devils have in Salvador at a time when several members of their young defensive core are primed to play a bigger role. Salvador’s first choice would be to stay with New Jersey, but he is open to finishing his career elsewhere.

Report: Devils looking to Penguins for assistant coaches

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On Tuesday the New Jersey Devils officially announced former AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes as the club’s new bench boss.

Now they’re reportedly looking back into the Penguins system for assistant coaches to fill out Hynes’ staff.

According to Tom Gulitti of The Record, the Devils have asked permission to speak with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton assistant coach Alain Nasreddine.

The Devils gave Pittsburgh a 2016 third-round pick as compensation for Hynes, but would not be forced to send another pick to the Penguins if they hire Nasreddine.

Nasreddine, who appeared in 74 career NHL games with Chicago, Montreal, the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh during his playing days, has worked with Hynes for the past five seasons in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

After spending the 2009-10 season playing professionally overseas, the 39-year-old was hired by current Devils GM Ray Shero to join Hynes’ staff in the AHL.

Gulitti reports that Shero will also interview former Devils’ captain Scott Stevens about a possible assistant coaching job.

Stevens interested in staying with Devils as an assistant coach

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Scott Stevens wasn’t able to earn the head coaching spot after spending about half of the 2014-15 campaign as the New Jersey Devils’ co-coach along with Adam Oates. That job instead went to former AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins bench boss John Hynes.

Stevens wants to stay in the game though and he’d like to be part of Hynes’ staff if there’s an opening for him.

“I haven’t looked elsewhere,” Stevens told The Record. “The Devils are my first choice, no question about that.”

He’s not sure what Hynes’ plans are as far as his staff goes, but Hynes has stated that “there’s no closed doors.”

Stevens is a Hall of Fame defenseman who won the Stanley Cup three times with New Jersey. He rejoined the Devils in 2012 as an assistant coach, but resigned in September 2014 before returning as a co-coach in December. His tenure as co-coach was perhaps most notable for the progress made by 22-year-old blueliner Adam Larsson. Back in January, Larsson suggested that having the trust of the new coaching staff was a big factor in his breakout.