New Jersey Devils

Zubrus on unconditional waivers for purpose of terminating his contract

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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.

It’s possible there was a mutual agreement to terminate Zubrus’ contract, a la Damien Brunner in 2014.

Update: It’s a buyout:

The Devils were afforded an additional buyout window as they had two arbitration cases this offseason.

Devils GM: Larsson has ‘only scratched the surface’ of his potential

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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.

Devils GM Ray Shero definitely seems to think that the young Swede’s best days are ahead of him, as the Bergen Record notes.

“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

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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.

Last week, Devils GM Ray Shero was confident the two sides would be able to figure out a new deal, perhaps even before they were to go to arbitration.

Last season, Larsson, taken fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, posted three goals and 24 points — career highs for him — in 64 games, leading all New Jersey defensemen in points.

Lamoriello’s departure removes any doubt: Devils are Shero’s team

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Lou Lamoriello becoming the Toronto Maple Leafs’ new GM wasn’t just a surprise to New Jersey Devils fans. Executives didn’t see it coming, either.

Principal owner Josh Harris told the press that he found out “very recently” that Lamoriello wasn’t happy about a power-sharing situation with new GM Ray Shero.

“When you’re used to having absolute control of an organization… it was a different situation,” Harris said of Lamoriello, according to the Newark Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere.

Shero is the new sheriff in town

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.

Shero admitted that he was “surprised” that Lamoriello left for Toronto.

What’s next for New Jersey?

While Harris made the typical overtures about the team being willing to spend, it indeed sounds like the franchise may play it tight and rebuild:

As far as team-building goes, this is quite clearly Shero’s unquestioned regime now, but some other executive matters may be a collective effort.

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:

source: AP
Via AP

After missing one deadline, Devils and Zacha hope to sign deal before the next

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Keep an eye on negotiations between New Jersey and ’15 first-rounder Pavel Zacha over the next three weeks.

Zacha, the only top-10 European draftee that’s yet to sign his entry-level deal, has already missed one key deadline and is now facing another in mid-August, per The Record:

As part of the agreement between the NHL and the European professional leagues, any 2015 draft pick under contract with a European club had to be signed by 5 p.m. on July 15. With Zacha contractually committed to Liberec in the Czech Republic’s Extraliga for 2015-16, it remains unclear how the Devils and Stefan missed that deadline.

As first reported here last Thursday, the Devils must now pay a $100,000 transfer fee directly to Liberec to extend the deadline to 5 p.m. on Aug. 15. If Zacha isn’t signed by then, however, he cannot play in the NHL before the 2016-17 season.

When I asked [player agent Patrik] Stefan on July 15 about the deadline and Zacha’s contract status with Liberec, he stated, “There is no contract.” Stefan confirmed Zacha’s Liberec contract today, however, and explained his answer last week as a misunderstanding.

“I was only saying that there was nothing preventing Pavel from signing from the Devils,” Stefan said.

Zacha was taken sixth overall in June. The other top-10 Euros — Ivan Provorov (seventh, Philly), Timo Meier (ninth, San Jose) and Mikko Rantanen (10th, Colorado) — have all inked their entry-level deals.

Zacha, 18, impressed onlookers at New Jersey’s recent prospects camp, to the point where some have suggested he could start next season in the NHL.

“I thought he was fantastic,” Shero told the Bergen Record. “That was the feedback we gave him today. I think that was from the entire staff. Very professional, very mature.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the size and strength to play in the bigs right now — all that remains is getting that contract signed. Shero didn’t seem to think it would be much of a problem, saying there were no “red flags” with regards to the negotiations.

“There’s nothing that’s going to stop us from signing Zacha,” Shero explained. “All I’ll say is we’re continuing to try to work on something with Pavel Zacha.

“If and when there is a deal that makes sense for both parties, we’ll sign it.”