Cory Schneider is ready to take over between the pipes full time for Devils legendary goalie Martin Brodeur. Not to mention he has the support of someone who is familiar with that spot in the crease as well, former Devils goaltender, Kevin Weekes (ESPN, August 12).
Brodeur is an unrestricted free agent after more than two decades withe the Devils, but the team has been looking for a way to transition from Brodeur to Schneider as the 28-year-old backup goalie repeatedly outplayed the veteran last season.
“He was ready to take that mantle,” said Weekes last week. “I like that the franchise was able to put that to bed and start that transition.”
Weekes is confident in Schneider’s ability to preform for the Devils, having known him since he was an NHL rookie.
“He’s a first-rate individual,” said Weekes, who finished his career as a Devil. “Classy, super-intelligent and he handles himself like a pro.”
While New Jersey would be sad to see Brodeur go, Weekes, who is now and analyst for NHL network, said this could be best for the future of the organization.
“It’s a unique situation,” said Weekes. “Because he’s Marty Brodeur, he’s earned the right to his influence and impact. Sometimes, the problem with that is it’s not always what’s best for the Devils’ personnel.”
Former New Jersey Devil and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame (Devils, August 6).
Rafalski played his first seven seasons of his 11-year NHL career with the Devils, beginning in 1999 when he was signed as a free agent. He played 541 regular season games with New Jersey recording 44 goals and 311 points while helping the Devils win the Stanley up in 2000 and and 2003.
Before his NHL career, the Dearborn, Mich. native played four seasons at the University of Wisconsin. He went undrafted but played four seasons in Europe after his college career before catching the eye of the Devils.
Rafalski was also a three-time member of the U.S Olympic hockey team in 2002, 2006, and 2010, taking the silver in 2002 in Salt Lake and 2010 in Vancouver – where he finished first in scoring among defensemen with four goals and eight points.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is unfazed by the team’s 2013-14 season 0-13 shootout shootout record – he’s more concerned about what happens on the ice before the game calls for a shootout (NBC Sports, July 31).
“I look at how we play during the 60 minutes because that’s what you have control of,” Lamoriello said. “The shootout is an individual thing and if you look at the history of the players who were on our roster last year and the sort of history of their success you would say, ‘How did this come about?’ But in saying that, it’s not a focus.”
Instead of getting hung up on the “skills competition”, Lamoriello focused this off season on bolstering the team’s offense, acquiring Mike Cammalleri and hoping for a healthy Martin Havlat.
The Devils have re-signed defenseman Andy Greene to a five-year deal, the team announced.
The deal is worth $25 million, according to reports.
“As a senior member of the Devils’ defense, we consider Andy Greene one of the core players on our roster,” GM Lou Lamoriello said in a release. “We look forward to Andy being with our organization on a long-term basis.”
From the Devils:
Greene, 31, will enter his ninth year with the Devils’ organization and eighth National Hockey League season overall. Last year, he finished second among the team’s defensemen with 32 points, while notching a career-high eight goals and 13 power play points. The 5-11, 190-lb. rearguard has appeared in a career-high 147 straight contests since March 6, 2012. Greene has career totals of 28 goals and 121 assists for 149 points and 154 penalty minutes in 477 NHL games, all with New Jersey. His career games-played total is first among Devils’ defensemen since making his debut Jan. 12, 2007. Born Oct. 30, 1982 in Trenton, MI, he was signed as an undrafted free agent on April 4, 2006. Greene made his professional debut with the AHL’s Lowell Devils in 2006-07, and participated in the league’s All-Star Game that season. In 2013-14, he was the recipient of New Jersey’s Unsung Hero award, as voted on by his teammates, for the second time in five seasons.
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The New Jersey Devils first-round (30th overall) John Quenneville impressed at development, opening a morning skate with a 1-on-1 against 2012 first-round pick Stefan Matteau (July 28).
“He has shown talent and has size to him; he reminds me of me in my first year,” Matteau said. “He’s a good player and will be an NHL player for sure.”
Though the match-up was physical – Quenneville’s 6-1, 185 pound frame compared to Matteau’s 6-2, 220 pounds – the forward appreciated the challenge.
“It was nice doing that puck-possession drill,” Quenneville said. “I guess, competition-wise, Matteau is a pretty good guy to go up against. He’s a big body and made it tough on me, but he makes me a better player and I enjoyed it.”
The 18-year-old ended the day with a sharp goal against the 2014 seventh-round pick Anthony Brodeur, son of Martin Brodeur, in a 3-on-3 scrimmage.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer was impressed by Quenneville during camp, though he is still a ways off from his NHL debut.
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The Hockey News has released their Fantasy “Pool Guide” for the 2014-15 with projections for the Devils forwards:
- Jaromir Jagr: 60 points (20 goals, 40 assists)
- Travis Zajac: 55 points (20 goals, 35 assists)
- Patrik Elias: 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists)
- Mike Cammalleri: 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists)
- Adam Henrique: 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists)
- Tuomo Ruutu: 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists)
- Martin Havlat: 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists)
- Damien Brunner: 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists)
- Ryane Clowe: 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists)
- Reid Boucher: 31 points
- Dainius Zubrus: 25 points
- Stefan Matteau: 22 points
- Steve Bernier: 14 points
- Stephen Gionta: 14 points
Unsigned free agent Martin Brodeur is hoping to play one more season, but he’s still looking for the right team (CSN Washington, July 22).
“I’m still looking for the right fit and the right fit might not come this summer, it might come later on in the fall,” Brodeur said in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “I’m pretty open-minded. Regardless of what happens, if I play or don’t play, I’m ready for anything. I’m looking forward to a new challenge, regardless if it’s outside of hockey or still in hockey with a different organization.”
Brodeur is hopeful that he can make a run for a fourth Stanley Cup, but it won’t be with the team that selected him 20th overall in the 1990 NHL Draft.
According to Devils beat reporter Tom Gulitti, the Maple Leafs, Lightning and Penguins have expressed interest in the 42-year-old goalie prior to July 1.
But Brodeur isn’t alone in the unsigned goalie department, former Capitals goalie Tomas Vokous is also a UFA looking for at least one more season between the pipes.
New Jersey Devils top forward prospect Graham Black is back on track after Graves’ disease nearly derailed his hockey career (NorthJersey.com, July 18).
Black was diagnosed with Graves’ disease at age 15, an immune system disordwer that causes an overproduction of thyroid hormones, boosting Black’s metabolism making it impossible for him to maintain a fighting weight or sleep at night.
“I’d go to games where I hadn’t slept in three days and you can’t go into a game with that mind-set,” Black said at Devils development camp. “All you’re thinking about is, ‘How am I supposed to perform?’ And now that I’ve got it under control, I feel like I’m invincible almost because that [disease] tried to stop me and wasn’t able to.”
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Devils rookie camp came to an end on Friday, and one of the more impressive players was 19-year-old defenseman Steven Santini. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound prospect has the makings of a defensive anchor. >>> Read more in the Star-Ledger.
The New Jersey Devils re-signed restricted free agent forward Jacob Josefson to a two-year, $1.6 million contract (NBC Sports, July 17).
Though Josefson’s playing time was limited last season, the 23-year-old has seven goals and 25 points in 118 career NHL games. His lack of playing time has been a source of concern for the mainly defensive forward, though he now has two more seasons to show his value.
The Devils now have 14 forwards signed to one-way contracts for the 2014-15 season.