Ryane Clowe will join the Devils for their upcoming two-game road swing through Chicago and Nashville, but GM Lou Lamoriello was quick to shoot down any suggestion this is a step in Clowe’s return to game action:
Lou Lamoriello said there’s “not a chance” that Ryane Clowe will play again this season. He doesn’t know about next season yet.
— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) February 13, 2015
Though unsurprising — Clowe’s missed 80 games over the last two years while dealing with concussion issues — it’s a sobering update with regards to the 32-year-old’s future in New Jersey. Clowe is only in the second of a five-year, $24.25 million deal with a $4.85M cap hit and while the club could seek financial relief through long-term injured reserve, Clowe has become the poster boy for Lamoriello’s penchant of gambling large on veteran players in free agency.
Sometimes, the strategy has paid off — Mike Cammalleri and Jaromir Jagr are two of the club’s three leading scorers this season, for example. But in other cases, leaning on veteran UFAs has backfired; 34-year-old Michael Ryder, a repeated healthy scratch this season, is making $3.5 million annually and 33-year-old Martin Havlat — who, admittedly, came relatively cheap at $1.5M — has been a virtual non-factor, scoring just nine points in 36 games.
Based on today’s update, it’s fair to wonder if Clowe’s career is in jeopardy. And if that’s the case, it’ll be an inglorious end to his time in New Jersey; since signing with the club in the summer of ’13, he’s only made 56 appearances in a Devils uniform.