New Jersey Devils: 2017-18 Theme Nights/Promotions

As the New Jersey Devils’ preseason gets underway, here’s a complete list of their theme nights and promotions for the upcoming 2017-18 season. Most of the blurbs underneath are taken directly from the Devils’ website. (And I apologize for not being as active as normal and for lacking preseason coverage; my family is in the midst of a move and my senior year of college is kicking my butt).

Don’t forget to check out a list of games that (I think) you should circle on your calendars.

10/7 – Opening Night (vs. the Avalanche at 2PM)

There will a Devils Red Carpet, on which the players and coaches will arrive, beginning at 11AM. Fans usually get a chance to secure autographs and photos on the Carpet. Fans will also receive a commemoratory 35th Anniversary Patch to represent the team’s 35-year anniversary in New Jersey.

11/9 – First Annual WWE Night (vs. the Oilers at 7PM)

World Wrestling Entertainment will take over The Rock with an immersive wresting experience for fans all night, including special appearances by WWE personalities on the concourse, a one-of-a-kind opening video moment, musical tributes and in-game features highlighting past and current WWE Superstars. Special ticket packages will be made available and include a unique WWE-Devils t-shirt.

11/11 – Military Appreciation Night (vs. the Panthers at 7PM)

On this highly anticipated night, the Devils will honor America’s heroes with a Veterans Day game recognizing local retired and current military personnel throughout the night. The team will wear military-themed warm-up jerseys that will be auctioned off following the game to help raise funds of military charities.

11/24 – Hockey Fights Cancer (vs. the Canucks at 7PM)

Prudential Center and the Devils will support the National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association’s annual Cancer Awareness Month initiative with a variety of pregame, in-game and concourse activities throughout the evening, including HFC merchandise for purchase, to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Devils players will wear special lavender warm-up jerseys that will be auctioned off in support of the Valerie Fund.

12/8 – Third Annual Star Wars Night (vs. the Blue Jackets at 7PM)

The Force will be strong this season when the Devils Star Wars experience returns to The Rock featuring dozens of characters on the concourse, theme music and in-game graphics. Special ticket packages will be made available and include an exclusive Star Wars-Devils t-shirt.

12/29 – Martin Brodeur Commemorative Stick Giveaway Night (vs. the Sabres at 7PM)

1/13 – Glenn “Chico” Resch Commemorative Stick Giveaway Night (vs. the Flyers at 7PM)

1/25 – Rock The Rock Night (vs. the Predators at 7PM)

Presented by the GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center, which opens to the public on October 20, the night will celebrate all things rock, from doors open to the final horn. Special ticket packages will be made available and include a unique Devils Rock t-shirt.

2/1 – Pride Night (vs. the Flyers at 7PM)

The Devils kick off “Hockey is for Everyone” Month with the second annual Devils Pride Night. Exclusive Devils Pride t-shirts will be on sale throughout the night with a portion of proceeds benefiting LGBTQ non-profit organizations.

(On a side note: I’m really looking forward to Pride Night; the Devils did a great job last year.)

2/11 – Kyle Palmieri mini-bobblehead giveaway (vs. the Bruins at 7PM)

2/24 – Patrik Elias Jersey Retirement Ceremony (vs. the Islanders at 7PM)

3/4 – Brian Boyle mini-bobblehead giveaway (vs. the Golden Knights at 5PM)

3/24 – Marcus Johansson mini-bobblehead giveaway (vs. the Lightning at 7PM)

Keep in mind that all giveaways listed are for the first 9,000 fans in attendance at The Rock. Tickets for individual games can be purchased via newjerseydevils.com/tickets.

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New Jersey Devils: 2017-18 Training Camp Roster, Preview

It’s the most exciting time of the year (officially). Hockey’s back, baby.

Training camp for the New Jersey Devils and across the National Hockey League gets underway today as the team works toward making improvements (both on offense and defense) and inching closer to a playoff berth. The team didn’t announce their complete training camp schedule and will only release the day’s schedule the morning of. They did release their camp roster yesterday:

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There aren’t any surprises on the roster. Steven Santini changed numbers from #34 to #16. Damon Severson is on the roster; he signed a new contract on Monday. There are, however, a ton of new faces. The Devils had one of their busiest offseasons in franchise history and it’s reflected in the roster. You have center Nico Hischier, the Devils’ first overall pick in the 2017 entry-level draft, and defenseman Will Butcher, whom the Devils signed not too long ago to a two-year contract. You have ex-Bruins Jimmy Hayes and Drew Stafford, Mirco Mueller, Brian Boyle, and Marcus Johansson just to name a few. Nikita Popugaev, Marian Studenic, and Jocktan Chainey are also representing the 2017 draft class at camp.

The Devils are almost 100% healthy to start camp. Travis Zajac, one of the longest-tenured Devils, will miss about 4-6 months after undergoing pectoral surgery. John Quenneville took a puck to the face during the Prospects Challenge but should be good to go.

Some younger players will be looking to crack the opening night lineup, including Michael McLeod, Blake Speers, Nathan Bastian, and potentially Jesper Bratt, who had a strong showing at the Prospects Challenge. Last year’s rookies (Pavel Zacha, Steven Santini, Miles Wood, among others) will be looking to cement their place on the Devils roster. Zacha opted to stay in New Jersey this summer in order to train during the offseason and I’m excited to see how he’s improved, both on and off the ice.

It’ll be fun to see how training camp plays out. Zajac is a huge loss. He’s a well-seasoned, veteran center who can play a strong two-way game and had one of the best seasons of his career last year, playing alongside Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall. The most likely candidate to take Zajac’s spot on the top line would be Adam Henrique but there are spots open on the remaining three lines. Boyle would likely center the fourth line. If Hischier or McLeod (or both) have strong showings and make the opening night roster, they could play on the second or third line to start out. But there are an abundance of centers on the roster so keep your eyes out for them.

We’ll also get to see how the situation at wing plays out. Will someone who normally plays center hop onto the wing? Will any true wingers switch sides? It’s an interesting predicament. The Devils tried to address the gaping need at right wing by signing Drew Stafford and bringing in Jimmy Hayes on a PTO.

The blue line competition will also be one to watch. Andy Greene, Damon Severson, and John Moore are all but guaranteed to make the team. Ben Lovejoy, Steven Santini, Dalton Prout, and Michael Kapla all saw some time with the team last year. Then you have your new faces in Will Butcher, Mirco Mueller, Tim Erixon, and Brian Strait, and the defensive prospects round up the group.

The team will (hopefully) look different from last year’s. They’re aiming to get younger and faster, and GM Ray Shero did a decent job to address some of those concerns on the offense and specifically at wing, but the blue line still remains a predicament. Most of the organization’s offseason moves were short-term ones but they’re a start. The team has plenty of expectations going forward.

Today is Media Day so be sure to follow the Devils on Twitter (@NJDevils), Instagram (@NJDevils), and Snapchat (@devilsnj), as well as Amanda Stein (Twitter/Instagram: @amandacstein) for Behind the Scenes and exclusive content. A few of the Devils reporters and media team are tweeting photos/quotes as well.

Don’t forget to check out blog posts on the Devils’ preseason schedule and their regular season schedule; I also wrote a couple of blog posts on (regular season) games that could make or break the Devils’ season along with games that you should probably mark on your calendars for the upcoming season. Hypothetically, within the next week or two, I’d like to post a projected opening night lineup and roster, among a few other pieces. And just as a side note, I’m beyond excited to write about the Devils for my first full season. It’ll be great.

New Jersey Devils Re-Sign RFA Damon Severson To A Six-Year Contract

The New Jersey Devils finally, finally re-signed defenseman and restricted free agent Damon Severson to a new six-year, $25 million contract. The news broke earlier this morning, courtesy of TSN’s Bob McKenzie, just as my intermediate microeconomics class began so I apologize for this blog post being just a little late. Severson’s entry-level contract expired over the summer and a new contract did not get worked out until this morning.

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Here’s CapFriendly’s breakdown of Severson’s contract:

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McKenzie did also point out that it’s very similar to the contract that the Devils signed current Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson to a few years ago, without the modified no-trade clause. There is the fear that the Devils might decide to trade him for more offensive production in the future if their current crop of prospects doesn’t pan out but he should hopefully stay.

I like the contract for both parties. The Devils re-sign one of their best and youngest defenseman, while Severson gets paid (what he deserves). The team has several problems with their defense but Severson has been one of the bright spots on what is otherwise an abysmal blue line.

With Andy Greene on a decline, Severson is one of the more experienced defensemen on the team (despite only having three years of NHL experience). He’ll really be able to stabilize the chaotic blue line. He’s been with the organization since he was drafted in 2012 and he’s only 23 years old; he’ll be 28 (29?) when the contract expires.

Severson scored a career-high 31 points (three goals, 28 assists) last season and played all but two games; he led all defensemen in points and assists. He also tallied a career-high 58 penalty minutes and played an all-around more physical game. He has 69 points (nine goals, 60 assists) in 203 career games with the Devils. He has plenty of time to grow and develop and learn and mature as a player, and will continue to be one of the most consistent defensemen on the team.

Here’s a link to the nhl.com article, where there is a quote from GM Ray Shero:

“We are happy to have Damon under contract through the 2022-23 season,” said Shero. “Damon brings an important dimension to our hockey club and he is a young defenseman that we are excited to work with. This deal shows our ownership’s commitment in what we continue to build here. We look forward to helping Damon continue to grow and develop as a player.”

Devils fans are also looking forward to watching Severson continue to grow and develop as a player, hope he stays with the organization for a very long time.

New Jersey Devils: Third Annual Prospects Challenge Roster, Preview

The New Jersey Devils are set to participate in their third Annual Prospects Challenge this weekend, hosted by the Buffalo Sabres alongside the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins, a new addition this year. I wrote a blog post when the Challenge was initially announced with a complete schedule. The Devils play the Sabres tonight at 7PM, the Penguins on Saturday at 3:30PM, and the Bruins on Monday at noon.

The Devils announced their roster on Tuesday; it consists of 27 prospects (15 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders).

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Here is the complete roster:
Forwards: Nico Hischier (13), Nick Lappin (36), Michael McLeod (41), Nathan Bastian (42), Blake Speers (46), John Quenneville (47), Brandon Gignac (51), Brandon Baddock (52), Ryan Kujawinski (54), Jan Mandat (37), Austin Cangelosi (61), Nikita Popugaev (62), Jesper Bratt (63), Marian Studenic (67), Nicolas Guay (78)
Defenseman: Will Butcher (8), Michael Kapla (32), Steven Santini (34), Joshua Jacobs (45), Yaroslav Dyblenko (48), Jacob MacDonald (53), Colton White (68), Colby Sissons (71), Jocktan Chainey (73)
Goaltenders: Ken Appleby (55), Evan Cormier (60), MacKenzie Blackwood (70)

Many of the Devils prospects participated last year, including all three goaltenders, Santini, Lappin, McLeod, Quenneville, Baddock, Kujawinski, Mandat, Jacobs, Bastian, White, Sissons, and Speers. A few of those prospects also participated the year prior.

Hypothetically, all three goaltenders will get time this weekend. Many of these prospects have a shot to crack the opening night roster. Kapla, Santini, Speers, Quenneville, and Lappin all spent time with both New Jersey and Albany (AHL) last season. Speers also spent the season captaining the Greyhounds (OHL). The Devils might also incorporate some new faces into their roster this season, notably Hischier, McLeod, and Bastian.

This will also be the first time that Devils fans get to watch 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner defenseman Will Butcher in action. He signed with the team as a free agent not too long ago and I took brief look at his actual play.

I’m excited to see a few of this year’s draft picks in action once again (Hischier, Popugaev, Studenic, and Chainey). Additionally, the Devils signed Cangelosi and Guay to contracts, and they’ll both get another opportunity to show up their skills.

And while New Jersey has a ton of forward depth, they haven’t had too many eye-opening defensive prospects. That could change as the franchise moves forward with the signing of Butcher and defensive draft picks. The Devils will have nine defensemen representing the team this weekend, compared to seven (each) both years prior.

The other teams in the Challenge have also released their rosters: BuffaloBoston, and Pittsburgh. Boston’s prospects are attending the Prospects Challenge as part of their rookie camp.

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The Devils games will be live streamed through newjerseydevils.com and will hopefully be archived for future viewing and analysis. The Sabres games will be live streamed through their official website as well so theoretically, fans will be able to watch every Prospects Challenge game (except for Pittsburgh vs. Boston, unless one of those teams is also live streaming).

Hockey is back, everyone. Time to enjoy (and stress).

Taking A Look At The Devils’ Newest Defenseman, Will Butcher

The New Jersey Devils announced yesterday that they had signed top NCAA free-agent defenseman and 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner Will Butcher to a two-year contract. Butcher has played college hockey at the University of Denver for the past four years; he was named Captain his last season and helped lead the team to a NCAA championship. Butcher caps off an impressive offseason for the Devils (and a full recap should be posted just before training camp).

Butcher prides himself on being an offensive, puck-moving defenseman. Here are some of his stats:

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Butcher’s had an impressive four years at Denver. He’s tallied 103 points (28 goals, 75 assists) in 158 NCAA games. His last two seasons, in particular, are of note. He scored 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in 43 games during the 2016-17 season, and 32 (nine goals, 23 assists) in 39 games during the 2015-16 season.

Here is a full list of accolades for Butcher from his player profile over at the UDenver’s website:

Became second student-athlete in DU program history to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player on Apr. 7… Named USA Hockey’s College Player of the Year on May 23… Received the prestigious Pioneer Award as the “individual who best exemplifies the Pioneer spirit in their efforts on campus and in the local community” from DU on May 19… Named DU Male Athlete of the Year on May 8… Named NCAA (West) First Team All-American on Apr. 7… Also named USCHO & CHN Player of the Year and captured the Bill Masterton Award (Team MVP) at the DU Hockey Awards Banquet on Apr. 14… Finished second in the nation in scoring by a defenseman (43GP-7G-30A-37P) and T-3rd in plus/minus (+27)… Earned All-Tournament Team honors at NCAA Midwest Regional, tallying 2GP-1G-0A-1P-4SOG, +3 rating in wins over MTU and PSU… Named NCHC  Player of the Year & Offensive Defenseman of the Year on Mar. 16… A Top 10 Finalist for the Senior CLASS Award… Earned First Team All-NCHC honors after finishing first in the conference in scoring by a defenseman (3G-22A-25P, 24GP)… One of Denver’s 16 Academic All-Conference honorees… Won NCHC Defensive Player of the Week Award six times… Recorded 100th career point on Mar. 4 at Omaha (assist)… Pre-Season CHN All-American & NCHC All-Conference Team pick… Named Denver’s Captain on June 2, 2016.

Butcher spoke to the Devils on a conference call today. He mentions the influence that Coach Hynes had on his decision: “I hit it off with Coach Hynes. He’s a strong hockey mind and a strong coach.”

On his future in New Jersey: “I thought it was the place to grow and develop, not just for two years but also for long term.” (Note: Butcher was drafted by the Avalanche at the Prudential Center in Newark back in 2013 but doesn’t know a whole lot about the city and state.) His first impressions? “It looks like a great place to be so I’m very excited about it.”

On the direction the Devils are headed: “Seeing where the young team is going was something that I felt compelled to be a part of.”

On his hockey future: “I think my game is NHL ready. I like to play an uptempo game.”

And after watching some highlights, I would agree.

Butcher is a bit on the smaller side, especially for a defenseman, clocking in at 5′ 10″ and 190 pounds, but he makes up for it with his offensive skills and his ability to play a two-way game. He’s a quick skater and has good hockey sense. He’s been excellent on the power play at Denver and isn’t afraid to put shots on net. He’s also had good showings at multiple World Juniors tournaments, representing Team USA.

He’s compared himself and his style of play after Duncan Keith, Torey Krug, Tobias Enstrom, and Devils Captain Andy Greene. During his conference call, he said, “Andy can be a great mentor to me. He plays the power play and all situations.”

Butcher also has a good chance of making the team out of training camp. The Devils don’t have a ton of depth on the blue line but with additions like Mirco Mueller and Michael Kapla (and Steven Santini), the Devils’ defense is getting younger and faster. Butcher will have the chance to make the Devils’ Top Six alongside Greene, Santini, Damon Severson, John Moore, and Ben Lovejoy. He is one of the Devils’ best defensive prospects and he’ll participate in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo next month. The number he’s going to wear has yet to be decided. He wore #4 in college but because the Devils retired the number in honor of Scott Stevens, he’ll have to choose another number.

No one’s asking Butcher to come in and immediately save the Devils defense but he can most certainly help out, especially on the power play and penalty kill (and he can chip in offensively every now and then). Devils fans might just see him play on opening night at The Rock against the Avalanche, the team that drafted four years ago.

Devils Sign Top NCAA Free-Agent Defenseman Will Butcher To A Two-Year Contract

THE DEVILS DID A THING. A VERY, VERY GOOD THING.

The New Jersey Devils officially announced that they signed the NCAA’s top free-agent defenseman and 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner Will Butcher to a two-year, Butcher was selected 123rd overall in the 2013 NHL Entry-Level Draft by the Colorado Avalanche (who recently signed Devils draft pick, Alexander Kerfoot).

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The 22-year old defenseman has played college hockey the past four years at the University of Denver. This past season, he captained the team and helped lead them to an NCAA championship. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (awarded to the NCAA’s Top Collegiate Player) and eventually won, beating out Zach Aston-Reese and Mike Vecchione. He was also named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team, (NCHC) First All-Star Team, and (West) First All-American Team. He was also the NCHC’s Best Offensive Defenseman and Player of the Year. (I would go on but I’m planning for a more in-depth look at Butcher sometime within the next few days…)

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GM Ray Shero had this to say about signing Butcher:

“We are extremely excited to have Will and his family join our organization. This continues to represent what we want to do: bring in talented individuals, invest in their talent, and develop them as we progress.”

I’d say Shero’s done a pretty decent job thus far.

If Butcher makes the opening night lineup (let’s not get ahead of ourselves), he’ll play against the Avalanche in his NHL debut. And if Kerfoot makes the Avs’ lineup (they play the Rangers before the Devils), he’ll be there too.

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As mentioned earlier, I’d like to have a more in-depth post on Butcher within the next few days (tomorrow, hopefully) but for now, let’s relish in this moment.

Welcome to Jersey, Will! Happy to have you!

Devils Sign RW Drew Stafford To A One-Year, One-Way Contract

The New Jersey Devils announced around noon today that they had signed right wing Drew Stafford to a one-year, one-way contract. His cap hit is projected to be $800,000, according to CapFriendly. Stafford will wear #18.

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Stafford has spent most of his NHL career with the Sabres; he then signed on with the Jets and played two and a half seasons with the club before they traded him to the Bruins this past March. He scored his first point as a Bruin with an assist on Ryan Spooner’s game-winning goal against, you guessed it, the New Jersey Devils. He had 21 points in 58 games played last season, and had two in six playoff games. He has 400 points in 725 career NHL games.

Here is the official announcement from the Devils. It came just moments after Devils fans began discovering the logo underneath his name on NHL.com. Stafford had also been added to the 2017-18 roster.

Stafford, 31, split the 2016-17 season between Winnipeg and Boston, after he was traded to the Bruins by the Jets on March 1, 2017 for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. He totaled eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points overall with 24 penalty minutes and a +6 rating in 58 total games last season. The Milwaukee, WI, native added two goals with the Bruins in six 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

The 6-2, 215lb. forward spent the first eight seasons of his NHL career with Buffalo (2006-07 through 2014-15). Stafford was traded to Winnipeg from Buffalo on February 11, 2015. A veteran of 725 regular-season NHL games, Stafford has totaled 183 goals and 217 assists for 400 points with 387 penalty minutes. He has six goals and five assists for 11 points in 30 Stanley Cup Playoff contests. The right-handed forward attended University of North Dakota (WCHA) from 2003-06 where he was teammates with Devils’ center Travis Zajac (2004-06) and helped lead North Dakota to a WCHA Championship in 2006. Born on October, 30, 1985, he was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round, 13th overall, in the 2004 NHL Draft.

 

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I’m having mixed feelings about the signing. He is a right wing and fills a major need for the Devils, and he hasn’t been terrible point production-wise. The contract expires at the end of next season and New Jersey probably won’t bring him back. However, he is 31. He could be taking a roster spot away from someone who’s younger and faster, and could use the NHL time to develop further. But Stafford isn’t a bad signing especially with that contract.

The Devils do still have the second most cap space in the league at the moment, ahead of only Arizona. They have 43 contracts as well. Only one major piece of signing news remains: defenseman Damon Severson.

In addition, 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner defenseman Will Butcher is also expected to make his NHL decision on Sunday. The Devils are still in the mix and could sign him.

Devils Invite RW Jimmy Hayes To Camp On A PTO, Kerfoot Signs With The Avalanche

The New Jersey Devils invited right wing Jimmy Hayes to training camp in September on a professional try out basis. He spent the last two seasons with the Boston Bruins, before he was placed on waivers and his contract was bought out this past June. Here’s a good article on why he was bought out in the first place and  here’s a look at the trade that originally sent him to Boston from Florida. The Massachusetts-native, who played college hockey for Boston College, is also the brother of current New York Ranger Kevin Hayes.

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Hayes scored just five points (two goals, three assists) in 58 games this past season and had 33 points in 133 games with the Bruins. His size (6′ 5″, 215 pounds) is his biggest advantage but other than that, there isn’t much upside. He doesn’t necessarily fit the direction the team is trying to head in. He’s 27, he’s not a fast skater, and he lacks offensive production.

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I don’t see the Devils signing him. They do have a gaping hole at right wing (which is probably why they invited him to camp in the first place) but I don’t think Hayes fits the mold.

In other news, Devils’ 2012 draft pick Alexander Kerfoot inked a deal with the Colorado Avalanche after becoming a free agent on August 16. He isn’t a huge loss for New Jersey.

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The Devils do play the Avalanche on opening night at The Rock, October 7.

Additionally, the Islanders also named former Devils goaltending coach Chris Terreri their goaltending development coach and the goaltending coach for their AHL affiliate.

 

Devils’ Center Travis Zajac Expected To Miss 4-6 Months After Undergoing Pectoral Surgery

New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac underwent surgery this morning to repair a torn left pectoral muscle that occurred during his off-season training and is expected to make a full recovery in about four to six months, General Manager and Executive Vice President Ray Shero announced this morning.

The official release said:

“This morning, Travis Zajac underwent successful surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle that was suffered last week during off-season training. The procedure was performed by the club’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jonathan L. Glashow. Zajac’s expected recovery time is approximately four to six months.”

Four months would put Zajac at around December, while six months would mean February, but a complete, full recovery could take a little while longer. As far as I know, I would expect Zajac back on the ice and in the Devils lineup in the spring.

But you’ll see a new top line center for the first couple of months of the 2017-18 season. Because Zajac is unable to play on the top line with wingers Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, someone else has to step up. Fans could very well see Nico Hischier, Michael McLeod, and Blake Speers on the ice but starting any one of them out on the top line might be a bad idea. The transition should be made as smoothly as possible. Regardless, the rest of the centers in the starting lineup should step up. Zajac does pretty much everything right and had a really good 2016-17 season. His presence on the ice and in the locker room will be sorely missed.

After 2017-18, Zajac will still have three years left on the eight-year, $46 million contract he signed with the Devils back in 2013.

Wishing Zajac a safe and speedy recovery, and hope to see him back on the ice soon!

New Jersey Devils Updates: Patrik Elias Retirement Night, ECHL Affiliation Announcement, Beach Bash 2017, And More

Patrik Elias Retirement Night: the New Jersey Devils will retire Patrik Elias’s #26 in a pre-game ceremony before a tilt with the New York Islanders on February 24, 2018. Elias officially announced his retirement from the NHL towards the end of last season but did not play at all during the 2016-17 season. He played his last NHL game on April 9, 2016 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Elias leads the franchise in all-time goals, assists, and points scored, and he will join Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Martin Brodeur in the Prudential Center rafters.

Devils’ New ECHL affiliate: the Devils also announced their new East Coast Hockey League affiliation with the Adirondack Thunder. The two teams had informally worked with each other over the past few years and a number of Devils players played for the Thunder, including Scott Wedgewood, Ken Appleby, and Brandon Baddock.

“We’re proud to announce the New Jersey Devils as our NHL affiliate as we take the next big stride towards the 2017-18 season,” Adirondack Thunder Governor Ed Moore said. “We have already reaped the benefits of partnering with New Jersey in the past, with players such as Ken Appleby playing in Glens Falls before moving on to higher levels. We’re excited to grow that partnership on an affiliated basis and we look forward to working with Ray Shero, Tom Fitzgerald and the rest of the Devils organization moving forward.”

“On behalf of the New Jersey Devils, I am pleased to announce that we have entered into a partnership with the Adirondack Thunder to become our ECHL affiliate,” New Jersey Devils Assistant General Manager Tom Fitzgerald said. “We strongly believe in developing our players on and off the ice. Adirondack will serve as a great first step from here to Binghamton and eventually from Binghamton to New Jersey. I am confident that Adirondack’s staff and community will help our players take the next step in their hockey careers and we look forward to working with them.”

Beach Bash 2017: The New Jersey Devils will host their second annual Devils Beach Bash this upcoming Saturday, August 19. Fans will have access to the beach beginning at 10AM and the BBQ will commence at approximately noon. It will take place at Point Pleasant, around the Jenkinson’s North Inlet area. Michael Kapla, Joseph Blandisi, Michael McLeod, Steven Santini, and Blake Speers will be among the current Devils players present at the event. Select alumni are expected to attend as well.

There are tickets available for the general public and for Devils members. The breakdown is as follows:

Tier 1: $15 admission for the general public, includes Beach Badge and Beach Activities

Tier 2: $40 admission for the general public; includes Beach Badge, Beach Activities, BBQ on the beach (with food and soft drinks), and Beach Bash T-Shirt

Tier 3: $15 admission for Devils Members; includes Beach Badge, Beach Activities, VIP access to players, and Beach Bash T-Shirt

Tier 4: $40 admission for Devils Members; includes Beach Badge, Beach Activities, VIP access to players, Beach Bash T-Shirt, private area at Jenkinson’s with food and soft drinks, drink ticket for spirit or beer, and access to Members-Only bar at Jenkinson’s

Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster here.

The weather looks good for Saturday (high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit and partly cloudy) but in case of rain, Beach Bash will be moved to the following day: Sunday, August 20.

Damon Severson’s contract: where is it?

Taylor Hall, the NHL’s 20th best winger: NHL.com ranked Devils’ winger Taylor Hall the 20th best overall (active) winger in the National Hockey League. Fans felt he should have been ranked higher than he was (he had a down year) and I tend to agree. Here’s NHL.com’s excerpt:

Hall scored 20 goals, led the Devils with 33 assists and tied for the lead with 53 points last season, his first in New Jersey. He also had four game-winning goals. He’s scored at least 20 goals in five of his seven NHL seasons and has had at least 50 points five times.

In 2013-14, Hall set NHL career highs with 53 assists and 80 points, leading the Edmonton Oilers in each category, and tied his NHL career high with 27 goals. The 25-year-old has made the NHL All-Star Game each of the past two seasons and has 381 points (152 goals, 229 assists) in 453 NHL games.

The full list is here.

Schneider’s Top 10 (Active) NHL Goalie snub: NHL.com also announced their list of Top 10 active goaltenders in the league and ranked Devils #1 goaltender, Cory Schneider, #11, just missing the cut. Again, he had a down year and probably should have been ranked higher than he was.

The 31-year-old had a sub-par year for his standards. He won 20 games and had a 2.82 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. His save percentage was down. 0.16 and his GAA was up more than half a goal (.67) from 2015-16.

“Schneider had a down season, but the Devils improved in the offseason and he can rebound. Let’s not forget his .922 career save percentage ranks third all-time,” Weekes said.

Here’s the full list of the Top 10 goalies and here’s a list of the five who just “missed the cut”.

Henrique is more Kinkaid than himself: the Devils created a “Which Devil Are You?” quiz (I got Kinkaid too!) so of course, a few of the Devils players took the quiz themselves. Unsurprisingly, backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid got himself after taking the quiz but Devils forward Adam Henrique got Kinkaid too. Identity crisis, maybe?

And that’s about it. As training camp and the preseason inch closer (ahhhh!!!), I hope to have more published content out soon. It’s been a busy few weeks but hopefully things settle down soon. You can except to see something from me when Damon Severson signs his new contract.