Good start: Top-10 pick Zacha ‘was fantastic’ at development camp

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You can’t read too much into development camp, but it seems Pavel Zacha couldn’t have made a better impression on Devils GM Ray Shero.

“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. He roomed with Damon Severson this week and they were really good together, but I think Pavel passed that on as well in terms of getting to know everybody here whether it was a draft pick or a tryout or just really dealing with people. So, I thought he did a real good job on and off the ice.”

Zacha also impressed John Hynes with his work ethic. The bench boss also noted that he’s “very coachable.”

The 18-year-old forward was taken with the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Although expectations always have to be tempered when talking about a player that young, the hope is that he’ll eventually play a big role on a Devils’ team that has ranked in the bottom-five in goals per game for the last three seasons.

He might even make the team out of training camp, but for that to even be possible he needs to sign an entry-level contract in the not too distant future. That’s because he’s tied to the Czech Republic squad Liberec and there’s a Aug. 18 deadline to get players that are under contract in Europe signed in order for them to be eligible to play in the NHL next season.

As it is the Devils will have to pay a $100,000 transfer fee because they didn’t get his deal done before the first deadline on July 15.

That being said, Shero said there haven’t been any “red flags” in the contract talks.

Related: Get to know a draft pick — Pavel Zacha

Schneider suggested 3-on-3 OT goalie stats should be kept separate

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With the latest rule changes to the structure of overtime, has it become so different from the rest of the game that those 3-on-3 minutes should be kept separate statistically, just like shootouts? New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider argued in favor of such a distinction.

“It’s going to be interesting for the goalies,” Schneider said of the decision to adopt the new overtime format, per ESPN. “I was a passenger during that discussion. I suggested a side category where a goalie’s 3-on-3 stats could be hidden away and not put into your main stats, because it’s going to be tough. There’s so much talent in the NHL and sometimes 5-on-5 opens up, but 3-on-3 is going to open up and fans are really going to love it. It’s going to be up and down the ice. It’s going to be hard for us goalies, so we’re going to have to be really sharp and ready to go.”

Of course, the hope is that 3-on-3 overtime has the impact Schneider is suggesting as that would lead to fewer games being decided by a shootout. It also has the potential to hurt the statistics of goalies for the very same reason.

As far as whether or not that’s reason enough to separate those statistics is open to different opinions. As it is there are a lot of different situations that play out over the course of an NHL game that get lumped together if you only look at the base numbers. In 2014-15, Joe Thornton’s five empty-net goals were worth the same as Tyler Toffoli’s five shorthanded markers as far as overall statistics were concerned, just as 3-on-3 play during regulation time would be counted together with 5-on-5 actions.

That being said, with the rise of analytics fans have the luxury of filtering out certain scenarios if they choose to do so. For example, if you want to attempt to evaluate players on a more consistently level field by only looking at 5-on-5 play, you can do that. So in a way, each person will get to decide for themselves if the new overtime play should be counted alongside everything else.

Shero confident Devils can re-sign Larsson, perhaps before arbitration date

The New Jersey Devils and defenseman Adam Larsson are nearing an arbitration date, but the club’s general manager Ray Shero seems to believe a deal could perhaps be completed before then, according to NHL.com, via NorthJersey.com.

As per NHL.com, Larsson’s arbitration hearing is July 29. In his fourth season with the Devils, the 22-year-old blue liner scored three goals and had 24 points — both career highs — in 64 games.

“I think we’ll get a deal done,” said Shero.

“We have time before the arbitration date certainly and we’ll see where that leads us, but the goal with [Eric] Gelinas was to try to agree to a deal we’re both happy with and it’s the same thing with Larsson. I had a conversation with [agent] J.P. Barry again [Thursday] and I hope within the next few days to have an idea where we’re going. We’ve talked about a lot of different things.”

Larsson, taken fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft and now a restricted free agent, was one of two Devils’ players to originally elect for salary arbitration.

The Devils avoided arbitration with defenseman Eric Gelinas earlier this week by re-signing him to a two-year contract extension worth $3.15 million.

According to Tom Gulitti for The Record, the Devils also re-signed defenseman Seth Helgeson to a two-year contract.

Devils ink d-man Gelinas to ‘nice little bridge deal’ — two years, $3.15M

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New Jersey has re-upped with one of its brightest blueline prospects, signing Eric Gelinas to a two-year contract extension worth $3.15 million.

Gelinas will be paid $1.5M in the first year and $1.65M in the second, per CBC. The deal carries an average annual cap hit of $1.575 million.

“They were talking for a while, so I was just waiting for my agent to give me some news and they told me today that they agreed on the terms,” Gelinas said, per NorthJersey.com. “Obviously, I’m more comfortable with a  two-year deal. It’s a nice little bridge deal. I’m really happy to have agreed before arbitration also. I’m really happy with the deal.”

The two sides were scheduled to go to arbitration on July 21.

Gelinas, 24, is coming off his first two full seasons with the Devils — in ’13-14, he enjoyed a solid rookie campaign by scoring seven goals and 29 points in 60 games; last year, his production dipped slightly (six goals and 19 points) in 61 contests.

Gelinas also fell on some tough times.

He was parked as a healthy scratch for a six-game stretch in February amid concerns about his defensive awareness, the second time such concerns had been raised. Previously, in December, Gelinas was made a healthy scratch for two games.

“What young players, especially young defensemen, have to understand is if you create three chances and give up three, we’re not further ahead,” then-head coach Peter DeBoer said of Gelinas’ struggles, per the Bergen Record. “We always talk about having a positive impact on the game. [If] you’re creating one chance and giving up none, that’s a positive impact.

“If you’re creating five and giving up five, we’re no further ahead and that’s the battle for young defensemen and offensive players.”

NHL releases arbitration dates

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Per the players’ union, a quick look at the players (and teams) that have elected arbitration, and what dates they’re scheduled for. Italicized names with asterisks means deals have already been reached, nullifying the need for a hearing.

PLAYER ELECTED FILINGS

Arizona Coyotes
Mikkel Boedker * (signed one-year, $3.75M deal)
Phil Samuelsson – July 21, 2015
Brendan Shinnimin- July 20, 2015

Buffalo Sabres
Phil Varone* (signed one-year, $600,000 deal)

Calgary Flames
Lance Bouma – July 22, 2015
Paul Byron – July 30, 2015
Josh Jooris – July 28, 2015

Colorado Avalanche
Andrew Agozzino – July 20, 2015
Mathew Clark – July 22, 2015

Detroit Red Wings
Gustav Nyquist * (signed four-year, $19M deal)

Minnesota Wild
Erik Haula – July 31, 2015

Nashville Predators
Craig Smith – July 20, 2015
Colin Wilson – July 28, 2015

New Jersey Devils
Eric Gélinas – July 21, 2015
Adam Larsson – July 29, 2015

New York Rangers
Derek Stepan – July 27, 2015

Ottawa Senators
Alex Chiasson – July 23, 2015
Mike Hoffman – July 30, 2015

Philadelphia Flyers
Michael Del Zotto – July 21, 2015

St. Louis Blues
Magnus Paajarvi *  (signed one-year, $700,000 deal)

Toronto Maple Leafs
Taylor Beck – July 24, 2015

Washington Capitals
Braden Holtby – July 23, 2015
Marcus Johansson – July 29, 2015

CLUB ELECTED FILINGS

Edmonton Oilers
Justin Schultz – July 24, 2015

Toronto Maple Leafs
Jonathan Bernier – July 31, 2015