As great as Mike Cammalleri and the New Jersey Devils have been respectively in the past, their agreement seemed at least a little bit like a case of lowered expectations.
Both sides seemed awfully excited about the proposition while discussing that five-year, $25 million deal with the Hockey News. From the sound of things, GM Lou Lamoriello has been eye-balling the scorer since his NCAA days.
“He played with an edge and had results,” Lamoriello said. “He’s very diligent and he competes. When you see that in a player, it naturally sticks out. When we were looking at the potential free agencies and the type of player we needed, we felt we needed a scorer. Mike stood right out, and he was one of the top players we looked at, if not the top player.”
(Cammalleri said all the right things about digging the way the Devils do business, too.)
While many believed that goaltending has been holding the Devils back – particularly Martin Brodeur’s loudest detractors – they haven’t exactly been creating a ton of scoring chances. To put things most simply, the Devils tied Cammalleri’s former team the Calgary Flames for third-worst in the NHL with an average of just 26.8 shots per game.
Will Cammalleri turn that around by himself? Of course not, but he’s the kind of trigger-happy player the Devils could use; he didn’t just score 26 goals last season, he also fired more than three shots on net per contest (191 in 63 games played).
That injection of offense actually presents the Devils with an interesting question: will they line him up with Jaromir Jagr or try to spread the wealth? One gets the feeling Cammalleri would love to play alongside No. 68.
“He’s one of the greatest legends of our game of all-time,” Cammalleri said. “He’s an iconic sports figure. To play on the same team as him will be a unique and special experience.”
Either way, he sounds happy to be in New Jersey.