Bryce Salvador

Salvador won’t decide on future before training camp


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.

End of an era in New Jersey as Shero replaces Lamoriello as GM


The NHL’s longest-serving GM is done.

Lou Lamoriello, who’s been in charge in New Jersey since 1987, has relinquished his title as general manager to former Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero.

“This is my decision with 100 percent support of ownership,” Lamoriello said on a conference call, adding that he would retain his role as president of hockey operations. “Ray is well-respected throughout the hockey industry and knows what it takes to win.

“His 22 seasons of NHL front-office experience will be beneficial to the New Jersey Devils organization. I look forward to working alongside Ray.”

Lamoriello, 72, steps away from his GM role after winning three Stanley Cups and leading the Devils to the playoffs all but three times between 1988 and 2012. The club has failed to make the postseason in each of the last three seasons, however, and Lamoriello has faced increasing criticism following several failed free agent acquisitions.

“Teams and personnel dictate changes,” Lamoriello said. “Ray might do things just a little different than I do.”

Shero, 52, has been out of work since being fired by Pittsburgh last summer. During his time with the Penguins, Shero captured one Stanley Cup (in 2009) in eight years on the job. He will immediately be tasked with hiring the club’s next head coach, as the Devils finished last season with Adam Oates and Scott Stevens behind the bench.

With this hire, Shero falls out of contention with the vacant Boston Bruins GM gig, which he was rumored to be shortlisted for.

“It’s a great situation for me,” Shero said during Wednesday’s call. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Shero has plenty of work ahead of him. Aside from the coaching search, he holds the sixth overall pick at this June’s draft, as well as No. 36 and 41 (the latter acquired in the Jaromir Jagr trade with Florida.) Shero will also need to work on new contracts for RFAs Stefan Matteau, Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas, and decide what he wants to do with veteran UFAs (Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat, Steve Bernier, Jordin Tootoo, Scott Gomez, Bryce Salvador, Peter Harrold and Mark Fraser.)

Give the names on that list and the regime change from Lamoriello to Shero, the Devils could be a very different-looking team in 2015-16.

Note: Lamoriello went out of his way to thank Penguins CEO David Morehouse and the entire organization for their cooperation in the Shero hiring process, but noted there would be no compensation going to Pittsburgh. This offseasons is the first of the NHL’s re-instituted policy to award teams compensatory draft picks should their executives or coaches be hired by other teams.

Larsson: ‘I needed [coaches] that showed they trusted me’

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A coaching change, combined with injuries to defensemen Bryce Salvador and Damon Severson, have equaled an opportunity for 22-year-old Devils blue-liner Adam Larsson.

Larsson, the fourth overall draft pick in 2011, has played nine games in January and logged at least 20 minutes in each of them. Last night in a 2-1 shootout win over the Leafs, he played 24:59 and scored the game-tying goal.

GM Lou Lamoriello has been behind the bench, along with Scott Stevens and Adam Oates, since head coach Pete DeBoer was fired on Dec. 26.

“I think it’s all confidence,” said Lamoriello of Larsson, per

“You can’t put added pressure on him and you have to learn from mistakes and that’s what he is going through, like any young player. Especially a defenseman, they don’t come into their own until they are 24, 25, 26 years old.”

Remember that the Devils are the oldest team in the league, so it’s especially important that their young players develop.

“[The coaching staff] trusts me and I think that’s all I needed,” Larsson said. “I needed guys that showed they trusted me, and then it’s up to yourself if you want to be out there.”

Devils ‘hope’ captain Salvador will play again this season


As is usually the case with the Devils, details are far and few between about the status of captain Bryce Salvador. We know he hasn’t played since Nov. 10 in Boston, missing the last 31 games with what the club’s calling a lower-body injury, but anything beyond that is something of a mystery.

Here’s more, from the Star-Ledger:

That is the extent of the information the team has released and, at this point, you have to wonder if Salvador will play again this season.

“We hope so,” Devils GM/coach Lamoriello told NJ Advance Media.

What is the nature of Salvador’s injury?

“It’s hard to explain,” Lamoriello suggested. “With the style he plays, until he gets clearance from the doctors, he cannot practice.”

Salvador has periodically let it be known through text messages that he is doing okay, but not yet skating. Beyond that, he has remained mum.

Salvador, 39, is in the last of a three-year deal worth $9.5 million, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $3.167M. Signed on the strength of his impressive ’12 Stanley Cup Final run — 14 points in 24 games, averaging 22:25 TOI per — Salvador’s deal has been a bust given how the past three years have gone. Despite being named the 10th captain in franchise history, Salvador has only appeared in 94 of New Jersey’s last 176 games and has been a virtual non-factor this season.

That said, nobody is completely ruling out a return.

“I think it’s not out of the realm,” Devils d-man Andy Greene told the Star-Ledger. “He’s working hard to get things figured out and fixed.”

The Devils are old, and that’s a problem no coach can fix


A quick, easy way to see if a team is getting a bit long in the tooth is to visit and compare the amount of green to red.

Here’s how the New Jersey Devils look at forward:


So yeah, lots of green there. Of the 15 forwards listed, 14 of them have reached the stage in their careers where they’re pending unrestricted free agents. Only Jacob Josefson is a pending restricted free agent, shown in red.

The Devils’ defense features a bit more red…


…and rookie Damon Severson is averaging an impressive 23:01 of ice time this season.

But in a young man’s league like the NHL, where speed kills and teams need to be constantly refreshing their rosters with energetic legs, the Devils’ average age, around 31, raises a huge red flag.

Consider: Of the NHL’s 30 oldest skaters, five of them are Devils.

Three Devils — Jaromir Jagr, Bryce Salvador and Patrik Elias — are in the top five.


What’s more, the Devils’ prospects aren’t particularly well-regarded, with Hockey’s Future ranking them 27th out of 30.

Part of the reason for that is, since 1997, New Jersey has only had one top-10 draft pick, and that was used on defenseman Adam Larsson (fourth overall in 2011). Fair to say, the jury’s still out on him.

Tomorrow, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, one of the most successful executives in NHL history, is expected to announce a replacement for fired head coach Peter DeBoer.

Will he say anything about the roster he’s put together?

Related: Devils sign Gomez, actually manage to get older