The New Jersey Devils did a lot of work this offseason to try and bolster their offensive game. Finishing second to last in the NHL in goals for last season, the Devils knew what needed to be done, which brings some changes in the locker room.
The Devils added some goal scoring with players like Ryane Clowe, Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, and now Damien Brunner, but that comes to cost a few players some roster spots.
The Devils currently have 28 players on their training camp roster and need to cut it down to 23 players. The main focus is going to be forwards, but with Alexander Urbom still on the camp roster, a defensive spot may be up for grabs. Lastly, the goaltending is obviously set in stone.
Here is my projected roster:
Steve Bernier, Damien Brunner, Ryan Carter, Ryane Clowe, Patrik Elias, Adam Henrique, Jaromir Jagr, Jacob Josefson, Andrei Loktionov, Rostislan Olesz, Michael Ryder, Mattias Tedenby, Travis Zajac, and Dainius Zubrus.
As much as the CBGB line means to the Devils and the fans, it may be time to kiss it goodbye. Stephen Gionta has a two-way contract and will unfortunately be sent down.
Krys Barch and Cam Janssen do not give the Devils any benefit whatsoever, unless you want to sacrifice goal scoring for fighting, which after finishing 29th in goal scoring last season the Devils probably will not do that.
Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, Peter Harrold, Adam Larsson, Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, and Marek Zidlicky.
I initially thought one of the younger guys, Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill, or Alexander Urbom would make it, but it may not be time yet. Merrill still could use some more time in the AHL, he played great and was very impressive, but still has a few things to work on.
For Gelinas and Urbom, they are definitely NHL ready, but the spot just is not open yet. Personally, I wish the Devils did not sign Zidlicky so one of those guys could get a spot, but they are on the cusp and will be great for years to come.
But there is a dilemma here, Urbom would have to clear waivers in order to be sent down, which is why he is still on the roster. The Devils may be working toward a trade, sending either Fayne, Harrold, Volchenkov, or even Urbom to another team for some draft picks in this upcoming draft. It would definitely be a better choice to trade and get a draft pick than lose a player all together.
There is no question that the Devils have their future defensive corps coming up with Gelinas, Merrill, Severson, and Urbom, remember those names because they will be strong defensemen in the NHL within the next few seasons.
It is obvious, but Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider will be the two goalies on the Devils roster this season. Keith Kinkaid still remains on the roster, but will be sent down by the Monday deadline.
The question with goaltending is who will play the most this year? Schneider has been unbelievable so far this preseason and Brodeur has not been stellar, but with the living legend still on the team, how can you not start him? He will not start a lot more than Schneider, but he will start the most games this season.
Overall, the Devils have largely upgraded their roster for the upcoming season. If everyone stays healthy, do not count the Devils out. They always find ways to win and are always underestimated.
Remember, they were not even picked to make the playoffs in 2012, when they made the Stanley Cup Final run; and in 2003 the Devils did not have have anyone score over 57 points (Elias led the team with 57) and they won the Stanley Cup. The team was more well rounded and had a lot of depth, much like the roster this year.
The final roster deadline for the NHL is Monday at 3 p.m.