Tuesday, July 01, 2008

 

The New Old Devils

The Devils retained Bryce Salvador and Jay Pandolfo. They signed prospects Matt Halischuk and Vladmir Zharkov; while keeping David Clarkson and Barry Tallackson. Sergei Brylin's option did not get activated. Tom Gulitti has all this. And considering the two new signings, I wouldn't expect Sarge's return.

The big story is that Tampa Bay did indeed waste a pick trading for Rolston's rights, as I mentioned yesterday. Brian Rolston, originally drafted by New Jersey in 1991 eleventh overall and remained with the team until the 1999-2000 season, is coming home according to TSN to the tune of 4 years and an average (read: cap-hit) $5 million/year. To be honest, I'm not liking the fact that he's going to get this much for that long at age 35; but Gulitti has reported he got seventeen deals. When there's that much competition, you got to be willing to offer a little more and Lou has succeeded.

Contract issues aside, just as I said I like the signing for Tampa Bay yesterday, I quite like this signing for New Jersey. Rolston is a productive player, he's got a great shot (especially his slap shot), and he knows how to play both ways. He can line up at any forward position, but considering the Devils' issues at center last season, I think he'll start there. Though for the power play, he needs to be up at the point. Short of Rolston getting injured or failing dramatically, I think he'll help out the Devils on offense, on special teams, and for the team as a whole in the short term. He wants to be here, he chose New Jersey over 16 other teams, and he's proven himself. Maybe not so much at 39, but let's worry about that in 4 years. For now, it's a solid pick-up. Good job, Lou.

Bizarrely, the Devils have signed another ex-Devil: Bobby Holik for one year and $2.5 million according to Sportsnet. I think that's too much, but it is only for one year. Holik has certainly slid in terms of overall performance since leaving New Jersey. Short of a revival of epic proportions, I think it's safe to say that Bobby Holik would be on the fourth line as long as he comes into camp in good shape and performs decently. Sucks for Rod Pelley and Petr Vrana, but on the brightside, we could see Crash Line Version 2.0 if Mike Rupp and David Clarkson are his linemates. Actually, if Rupp plays like he did in the last 20 games of last season and Clarkson keeps being himself, that wouldn't be such a bad idea. A second checking line would take the heat off of John Madden and the retained Jay Pandolfo. If Holik doesn't work out, the cap hit only hurts in the short term and Pelley, Vrana, or someone else can take that spot in short order. This one was more surprising, but it could work out well. But like I said, I wouldn't expect a whole lot.

Keeping Jay Pandolfo here for $2.5 million/year for 3 years will be enough to keep two of the top checkers in the league together, raising hell against the opponent's top lines for a few more years. According to the TSN article about this, the decision came down between Pandolfo and Brylin. While both won't become Goal Scoring Machines™, Pandolfo's defensive skills keep him valuable. Brylin, not so much. Ultimately, I think it was the right decision. I don't mind the retainment of Bryce Salvador. He's a defensive defenseman with experience who can be pretty physical. The only other defenseman on the team who fits that role is Colin White and having another player like that doesn't hurt on the blueline. Salvador makes sense. However, given his past injuries and that he'll provide a minimal amount of offense, I don't think contract makes as much sense. I'm a bit confused as to how he was able to get $2.9 million/year for 4 years, as Gulitti reported. Then again, I just saw on the TSN website that Mike Commodore is getting a 5 year deal at $3.75 million/year from Columbus. Yes, that Mike Commodore. No, I'm not making that up. Could the market for defensemen be any more overpriced? Back to Salvador, I'll take solace that there's no "No Movement Clause" involved.

Final thoughts so far? First, the Devils probably won't make any more big free agent signings. While they still have some cap space left (I'm guessing around $3-4 million? Correct me if I'm wrong), they aren't going to get Marian Hossa. Second, expect some trades this summer - at least a few people on this team won't be here by October.

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Comments:
Honestly, I didn't expect Sweet Lou to go all out. Although they always say he will, he never does.

We didn't want to get, or couldn't afford Campbell, which is fine. We aren't getting Hossa, and we don't want him, regardless, which is fine. We get Holik back? Ooookay, a little strange. We paid a little much for Rolston, as you said, so I agree there.

Some "other" sites were thinking we'd take a run at Shanny, which I actually liked the idea of. He won't cost much, he's a mercinary at this point anyway, he's a leader, he's still a viable scoring/passing threat, etc. No word yet on that.

We still need Defenceman, but again, not much out there, unless Lou pulls off a trade for a RFA I'm not considering.

Can't believe they think Hossa will command over $9m/per! That is absurd.
 
Lou overpaid again. Rolston, at 5 mil per season, maybe a good signing for the next season, but will he be worth it at 39? Salvador will be 36 when his contract expires...Holik is already old. Don't get me wrong, I think the team will be stronger next season with these signings, but in the long terms they have the potential to be downright awful. Sure, there is no no trade clause in Salvadore's contract, but the number at which the devils signed him guarantees he won't be traded. If he sucks, who will take him at 3 mil? Also, don't forget, if a player over 35 retires, the remaing years on his contract still count against the cap. So, if Rolston hangs up his skates after next season, the devils have three more years of 5 mil per cap hit to absorb.
 
Superfan-Actually, the Devils were interested in Hossa, it was in the Bergen Record a few days ago. I'm glad the Devils didn't go for Campbell - he commands waaaay too much money for a guy who doesn't play actual defense all that well. As far as defensemen go, they have 8 on the roster and 2 prospects. Someone's being moved, I'd doubt there will be a free agent defenseman. Considering some of the overpayment (Commodore is making nearly 4 million! SERIOUSLY, I can not get over that), Salvador at $2.9 million doesn't look as abjectly bad.

Thrawn - I'm pretty sure I referenced that, yeah, in the long run these contracts will suck. It guarantees Salvador and Rolston playing through their careers here. If they play well enough, it won't be so bad. And the suckiness will be reduced if the cap continues to go up. In any case, Rolston had 17 offers - clearly, you got to offer a sweet deal to get him. It wasn't as if he was going to take an ex-Devils discount.
 
Also, Marty is 36 years old.

In three years, when Marty is nearly shot, we're not going to care about the cap.

Duder
 
John,

Okay, I used "we" where I should have said "I", with regard to Hossa. I know there were rumors; Bergen Record, ESPN, TSN, etc., that we were trying to put a huge offer up for Hossa, but I personally don't like that cat.

That's essentially what I meant by "we" don't want him anyway.

They upped the cap and people that don't deserve it, were getting stupid money, like Campbell. Glad we had that lockout! Ay yi yi....
 
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