Adam Henrique had minor surgery on his left wrist shortly after the regular season ended, the Devils announced (April 20).
According to the team, Henrique is wearing a cast and is scheduled to begin rehab in four to six weeks.
In 75 games played for the Devils this season, the 25-year-old Henrique scored 16 goals to go along with 27 assists.
The Devils signed backup goalie Keith Kinkaid to a two-year, $1.45 million contract extension (Fire and Ice, April 13).
Kinkaid will earn $700,000 in 2015-16 and $750,000 in 2016-17 in the one-way contract.
The rookie was set to become a Group 6 unrestricted agent, but the 26-year-old proved himself to be a solid backup between the pipes for Cory Schneider.
“Any time you get a young player to come in and do what he did, it’s going to be what he does next year,” GM Lou Lamoriello said. “But he’s proven that he can play at this level, play in a back-up role, play no matter how many games he had to sit out. He’s under contract now for two more years and he knows he has to grow a little and accepts that and he’s a tremendous complement, in my opinion, to Cory.”
The Devils decided not to give out team awards this year, for “no reason” according to interim coach Lou Lamoriello, but maybe it had something to do with their lackluster season (Fire and Ice, April 12).
“When you don’t make the playoffs it’s not really rewarding to get an award of any kind,” goaltender Cory Schneider said. “It’s fun for the fans, I think. They enjoy it.”
While the team might not be doing awards, northjersey.com’s Tom Gulitti polled the players to see who they think earned top honors this season.
According to Gulitti’s poll, Schneider was nearly unanimously voted the MVP, though, Schneider was quick to credit his teammates.
“Any individual only has success because of his teammates,” Schneider said. “Not that we’ve had success as a team, so it’s hard to find individual success out of that, but my job is made easier by my teammates. Regardless of how the results have been, I think every night we show up and we put in effort and we work hard and we all take pride in playing defense well, which, for me as a goalie, is very important to me. So, if guys think that (he’s the team MVP) that’s great, but any successes I’ve had are pretty much because of them.”
The squad also voted Steve Bernier as the Unsung Hero and Scott Gomez as the Players’ Player.
Recap: The Devils closed the season with their seventh consecutive road loss. It was their 10th defeat in 11 games.
Need to know: Jaromir Jagr, who was traded by the Devils to the Panthers in February, scored the winning goal with 7:37 remaining.
Jagr’s 17th goal of the season came on the power play as he matched Wayne Gretzky for 14th on the NHL list with 204 career power-play goals. Jagr also had an assist, and moved into sole possession of sixth on the league’s all-time list with 1,080.
Damon Severson and Jordin Tootoo scored for the Devils, and Cory Schneider (eighth consecutive loss) stopped 24 shots.
Links: AP recap | Box Score
What’s Next: When the Devils open camp next fall, their goal will be to make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
Raman Hrabarenka took the ice in his first NHL game on Thursday night against the Lightning, and he was just as nervous as anyone could have expected (Fire and Ice, April 9).
“I didn’t sleep,” Hrabarenka said after the Devils 4-3 OT loss. “I was a little bit nervous thinking about what I needed to do, all the things on the ice, but after a couple of shifts I felt better.”
In 11:55 minutes on the ice the rookie defenseman did not record any shots on goal or even attempt a shot, but it was a good experience nonetheless.
“My partners helped me a lot,” Hrabarenka said. “I felt great with Helgeson as my partner because we played together in Albany. It would have been nice to get the two points, but it’s overtime.” To read more of this story, click here
Recap: The Devils lost to the Lightning in overtime on Thursday night in Tampa Bay.
Need to Know: Steve Benier scored on the power play to give the Devils a 1-0 lead at the 5:06 mark of the first period, but Tyler Johnson evened things, 1-1, just over a minute later when he put one past Keith Kinkaid.
The Lightning took a 2-1 lead at the 9:13 mark of the first when Nikita Nesterov scored on the power play.
Midway through the second period, Patrik Elias scored – with an assist from Stephen Gionta – to tie things, 2-2.
Tampa Bay took a 3-2 lead with just over two minutes left in the second when Steven Stamkos scored on the power play. However, Steve Bernier answered for the Devils just 16 seconds later to tie the game, 3-3.
After an eventful but scoreless third period, Tyler Johnson’s pass deflected past Kinkaid 1:22 into overtime to give the Lightning the win.
Links: AP recap | Box Score
What’s Next: The Devils play their final game of the season on Saturday night in Florida at 7 p.m. against the Panthers.
Travis Zajac knows he hasn’t been playing up to his potential – or salary – this season, and no one needs to tell him twice (Fire and Ice, April 8).
“I’ve got it before a few times. It comes with that territory,” Zajac said of a fan calling him “overpaid”. “I want to be a part of this team for a long time and I can take the highs and the lows of everything. It’s part of the job and for me it’s trying to stay positive and learn a bit right now.”
Zajac signed a $46 million, eight-year contract, has six more seasons left to turn things around after posting just 11 goals and 13 assist in 72 games this year.
“It’s been frustrating,” Zajac said. “You’re never satisfied with how things are going and, especially this year, it’s been tough to try to pick out positives for myself. Right now, I’m just trying to put in the work and get better and trying to learn some things and, hopefully, I can get back to where I need to be.”
But it’s not just the center who has been struggling, the whole squad has been fighting to find their stride all season long, and not to much avail, but nonetheless, Zajac still carries his share of the responsibly.
“That’s real. I’m always thinking that,” said Zajac. “I’m always thinking you can do more and you want to do more. Some times that hurts you, some times it gets you into trouble, and other times it helps you out. That’s definitely been on my mind the last couple years, trying to think about my game and what I have to do to help this team and make sure I can be at my best to make sure this team has success.”