Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Changes In the Swamp

On Sunday, the New Jersey Devils sent down four players to the minors to reduce their camp roster to 29 players. Three forwards and one goaltender went down to trim the roster, which still has to make some cuts by their opening game on Saturday night.

With Patrik Elias expected to miss the first couple weeks of the season with a groin injury, I would be expecting to see three forwards and three defensemen still to be cut, making 24-man roster out of the list of players below.

The Devils will open their season on Saturday at home against the Flyers. Tonight, the Devils will clash with the Islanders for their final preseason game, meaning that the remaining cuts will be done in the next couple days.

Zach ParisePaul MartinMartin Brodeur
Patrik EliasJohnny OduyaYann Danis
Jamie LangenbrunnerColin White
Tomas ZajacCory Murphy
Dainius ZubrusBryce Salvador
David ClarksonMike Mottau
Brian RolstonAndy Greene
Rob NiedermayerRob Davison
Brendan ShanahanJay Leach
Jay PandolfoMark Fraser
Nicklas Bergfors

Andrew Peters

Pierre Letourneau-Leblond

Matt Halischuk

Tim Sestito

Rod Pelley

Ilkka Pikkarainen

The Devils turned out to be quite the scoring team last season with Brent Sutter at the helm. Now, the Devils return to the Jacques Lemaire regime, where defense will be preached first. The team should be fairly strong down the middle with Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus (pictured), Rob Niedermayer and Jay Pandolfo taking the key centre positions. Of course, Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner will both be counted for their defense and offense again, but it remains to be seen how tight the reins are for some free-flowing hockey.

With a shorter leash on everyone, this should work in Martin Brodeur's favour, meaning that he should be accumulating wins a little bit faster and breaking records all the more sooner.

Salary CapThe current 29-man roster, including the injured Elias, comes in at a reasonable $56.3 million cap hit, meaning that when the cuts are made, they will be further underneath the cap than they are already. That's likely how management wanted it to be. The Devils are another one of those teams that should be in the Eastern Conference playoff race and should be trying to win another Cup with a team like this. I would expect the Devils to be major players at the trade deadline this year.

The coaching change is not one for the better, in terms of scoring. It's certainly much better for goaltending, meaning that Martin Brodeur has a good chance at being back at the top of the pool rankings again this season. Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac are all going to experience a change in their games, but I am skeptical that it is going to be for the better.

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