Everyone knows that a non-playoff team tends to make bigger off-season moves with the hopes of reaching the post-season in future years. That rang true for the New Jersey Devils – they went from Stanley Cup finalists to missing the post-season in one foul swoop. So, as the hockey season begins again, let’s take a look at the Devils’ summer changes as they hope they return to their glory days again soon.
1: COACHING CHANGES
The “out with the old, in with the new” cliche has never been more true: New Jersey replaced Scott Stevens and Adam Oates, old Devils players, with John Hines, a new, up-and-comer in the coaching world.
2: GOODBYE, LOU
After what felt like an eternity with the team, Lou Lamoriello left the Devils organization and joined the Toronto Maple Leafs. Here’s some speculation: maybe it had something to do with that lawsuit against him?
3: WELCOME, KYLE PALMIERI
24-year old Palmieri had a great season with the Ducks last year, and brings just what the Devils were lacking: depth down the middle, youth, and skill. He did sustain an injury last season, though, and his play was inconsistent at times, but Palmieri is well on his way to becoming a solid NHL centre. He’ll likely play on the second or third line.
4: DRAFT SIGNING
Shortly after drafting Pavel Zacha sixth overall in the 2015 NHL draft, the Devils signed the centre to a 3 year, entry level contract. He is now eligible to play in the upcoming season, giving the Devils 5 natural centres in Zacha, Travis Zajac, Adam Henrique, Palmieri and Patrik Elias.
5: SIX MORE YEARS OF LARSSON
Restricted free agent Adam Larsson signed a six year contract with the Devils. The 22 year old defenceman’s contract is worth $25 million, and signed just two days before Larsson was scheduled to go to arbitration. He is now signed to the Devils three years past unrestricted free agency.
6: ZUBRUS WAIVES GOODBYE
The offseason also saw the Devils place 37 year old Dainius Zubrus on unconditional waivers, with the intention of ending his contract. He was slated to make $3.1 million in the upcoming season, in the final year of his three-year contract. He played for the Devils for eight seasons.
7: THE BEGINNING OF THE SHERO ERA
The Devils welcomed Ray Shero as their new GM, taking over for Lou Lamoriello’s long tenure. The Devils organization hopes his youth will bring dynamic new insight to the team and build a Stanley Cup contending dynasty, returning them to their glory days.