Have no fear! Damon Severson will be in the New Jersey Devils training camp after all! Early on Monday morning, the restricted free agent agreed to terms with his club on a 6-year, $25 million contract, ensuring that the 23-year old rear guard will be in training camp, when it opens later on this week.
Severson was one of the last few big restricted free agents left on the board, heading into training camp week and there were probably some uncomfortable feelings heading into this week, before this deal was done and dusted. He figures to be the team's top defenseman this season, as his career trajectory is finally taking off.
Last season, Severson played in 80 games, scoring 3 goals and 31 points on a Devils team that left a little bit to be desired, but he was still good enough to be 51st among all defensemen in scoring.
The Devils have had a pretty good run of luck in this off-season, which has led to some positive changes on paper, adding the top pick in the summer's entry draft, being able to pluck a top end forward from a team in cap troubles and also trying to add some key pieces through free agency. There isn't a lot in New Jersey that would suggest they are a playoff bound team in 2018, but they are moving in the right direction again... finally!
Making sure that Severson is in the lineup is a big gain to the team's even strength play and all indications would suggest that he would pair up with his usual partner from the 2017 season, Andy Greene, forming the team's top pairing. The Devils can certainly make some gains, if some of these new faces can find some early chemistry and that should boost the numbers of Severson, Greene and possibly even Ben Lovejoy in the back end, but those are a lot of if's to hang your hat on. Let's see how camp goes, shall we?
The Devils are not exactly in cap trouble, as they won't even have to dip into their LTIR help, with Ryane Clowe retiring on the shelf and Travis Zajac on for the foreseeable future with a serious pectoral injury. Even with their two cap hits on the board and a full 23-man projected roster, the Devils still have $8.8 million in unused space. I would be looking at them to gain a few more assets at the deadline this year.