On the first day of August, Uncle Lou decided to cut down on the current roster. Colin White and Trent Hunter were waived today, and if they do pass through waivers, will be bought out by the team (confirmed by Lamoriello). White had one year left on his contract (at $3 million), and Hunter had two years left on his deal (at $2 million each). Dan Rosen reported via twitter that the Devils would save approximately $3.3 million on this year’s cap if both players are bought out.
While this move may surprise some, it is pretty clear at the moment the surplus of forwards and defensemen the Devils currently have on the roster. Knowing this to be true, Lou made the decision to waive two players whose salaries were particularly high. We now know that the team had no interest in any return package for Brian Rolston; when the Isles agreed to send back injury-prone Trent Hunter, they were just happy to clear Rollie’s salary from the payroll. The Devils knew that White and Hunter would both have to fight for playing time, and waived them knowing that other, lower-salary skaters could give just as much production.
Surely, while it was a necessary move for Lou to make (he waived White after unsuccessful attempts to trade him), no one is happy to see Colin White go after a great 11-year run with the team. The Devils won the Stanley Cup in his rookie year, and again three years later (along with Elias and Brodeur, he was one of three players left on the roster from the latter Cup win). White’s numbers were never flashy; he’s only scored 20 goals with 105 assists in his career; but he got the job done defensively, and his career +79 shows his value to the team. It is unknown whether White will land on his feet with another squad, or will retire having played his entire career in New Jersey. Regardless, Lamoriello was right to call White “a true Devil”, and hopefully we will see him around the team in another capacity in the near future.
Now, to the current roster. Even with one less forward and defenseman on the team, there will be some intense roster battles over the next two months. One question is whether or not Bryce Salvador will be ready after missing all of 2010-2011 after suffering a concussion in a preseason fight. Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti that Salvador had been symptom-free with no setbacks during summer training, but that his largest test will come with full contact in camp. Salvador could potentially be one of the Devils’ better defensemen if he is ready to play come October, and is one of a few d-men who shouldn’t have to fight for a roster spot.
While there is now one less forward on the roster, it remains to be seen whether the Devils would look to trade David Clarkson as well. While this is still a possibility, Clarkson should surely be a third-line right wing if he remains a Devil, and it might be smart to give him a chance to improve under his former OHL head coach (in DeBoer). There will be a lot of forwards battling for spots; however, it appears the team has a pretty solid top-9 at the moment, which should be any combination of the following:
There will be a handful of other forwards looking to join these nine, who could be organized in a number of ways. We will certainly analyze these players in the coming weeks, as it is yet to be seen whether more transactions are on the way.
On a lighter side, be sure to check out this video of Martin Brodeur giving a French lesson to some Devils fans at the arena. This was certainly funny to watch, and I hope we see more clips like these during breaks in the action this season at the Prudential Center.