While nothing is imminent, the New Jersey Devils’ decision to buy out Dainius Zubrus has set the table for them to make a trade or free agent signing.
“It really wasn’t about Dainius himself,” Devils GM Ray Shero told The Record. “It was more about the roster spot/flexibility moving forward. … If something comes along and we don’t have a roster spot – not so much the 23-man roster, but up front in terms of let’s say you’re carrying 13 forwards, 14 forwards and you don’t have any spots – then you can’t do anything.”
It certainly wasn’t about freeing up cap space given that Zubrus’ $3.1 million cap hit for 2015-16 will count fully against the team’s books even after the buyout because he was a 35-and-over signing. The Devils are still saving roughly $1 million of this way, but Shero insisted that this wasn’t a financial decision.
There are still teams that are looking to get into a better cap position, such as the Chicago Blackhawks, that Shero might have his eye towards as he clears some room on the team’s roster. There’s also some noteworthy free agent forwards left, including Stephen Weiss, Martin Erat, Tomas Fleischmann, and Jiri Tlusty.
Failing that it gives the Devils an opportunity to have one of their younger players on the roster as New Jersey looks to show signs of progress offensively after spending three straight seasons in the bottom-five in the NHL in terms of goals per game.
The New Jersey Devils are parting ways with Dainius Zubrus.
The club made the announcement today, saying that the 37-year-old forward had been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.
Zubrus was set to make $3.1 million in 2015-16, after which he would become an unrestricted free agent. He had just four goals and six assists in 74 games last season.
The Devils did not say they were buying out Zubrus, only that his contract was being terminated. New Jersey would not have received cap relief anyway if it was a buyout, as Zubrus’ contract was of the 35-plus variety. The team would have saved around a million bucks in actual salary, however.
New Jersey Devils blueliner Adam Larsson has been a disappointment at times, especially to those who took the Victor Hedman comparisons a little too seriously.
Still, he finally showed flashes of brilliance once he was “liberated from Peter DeBoer’s prison for young defensemen,” as Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski wrote. Apparently the Devils saw enough to sign him to one of those deals that stands as risky today, but could be brilliant down the line: six years, $25 million.
Again, considering his production at this point, a $4.167 million cap hit seems a little steep. Larsson’s just 22 right now – he’ll turn 23 in November – so it isn’t crazy to ponder a significant leap. Defensemen take longer to develop, after all.
“I think he’s only scratched the surface of the kind of player he’s going to be,” Shero said. “There’s a reason he was drafted when he was. He’s got a lot of experience already. He’s played a lot of ice time on the (penalty kill) and 5-on-5. He hasn’t had the chance to play a lot on the power play, yet.”
Shero believes the contract stands as a “good deal for both sides,” as Larsson gets a long-term deal while the Devils buy three of his unrestricted years.
Ultimately, though, we’ll probably look at it as either an overpay for a somewhat disappointing prospect (selected fourth overall in 2011) or a brilliant steal for a player who finally hits his prime.
In other words, if things work out, the Hedman comparisons might not be so outrageous after all.
Deal with the Devils: New Jersey re-signs Larsson to six-year contract
The New Jersey Devils and defenseman Adam Larsson have avoided an arbitration hearing scheduled for next week after the two sides came a deal announced Saturday.
The Devils announced via Twitter that they re-signed the 22-year-old blue liner to a six-year contract, worth a total of almost $25 million. According to the club, the new deal comes with an annual average value of $4,166,666.67.
Larsson’s salary breakdown under this new deal includes $2.5 million this season, before earning $5.05 million and $5.1 million, respectively, in the final two years of the deal.
Speaking of absolute power, it sounds like Shero will clearly be the man in charge, rather than dealing with more of a transition with Lamoriello as president. Harris said that he doesn’t feel the need to hire a new team president after this stunning departure.
Josh Harris says no plans to hire a new team president at this point.
Harris admits that he’ll miss Lamoriello, yet maybe pictures like these provide a decent argument that it might be best for everyone to remove such a looming, overwhelming presence. At least if they want to make some changes: