Jan 18, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal (11) scores while falling to the ice as New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur (30) defenseman Anton Volchenkov (28) and defenseman Bryce Salvador (24) defend during the second period at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Poll: Which Devils Defender Would You Rather Have Gone?

With the signing of Defenseman Marek Zidlicky to a 1-year contract, talk has surfaced on which defender they would rather see gone: Bryce Salvador or Anton Volchenkov.

Zidlicky’s contract has a base salary of $3 million and also sees $1 million in bonuses similar to Jaromir Jagr‘s new contract. Zidlicky has $1 million in bonuses from last season that will carry over to this one and brings the cap hit to $4 million.

This is Marek’s second straight 1-year contract and this one also has a no-trade clause like his last contract.

Anton Volchenkov is entering the fifth year of his 6-year, $25.5 million dollar salary that saw him earn $4.25 million per year and received a $2 million signing bonus in 2010-11. The Devils have thrown a lot of money Anton’s way, and while at the time it may have been warranted, his play has suffered.

While his physical play shows up from time to time, his offense production has faltered. Volchenkov also had injury problems that held him to only 56 games last season and only produced 8 assists. That production matches his output in 2010-11 when he only played 57 games but his defense was not as much of a liability as it is now.

Volchenkov can still play defense (and in my opinion has much more strengths than Bryce Salvador) but lately, he has found problems and has slowed down at 32 years old.

Bryce Salvador is entering the final year of his contract. His current contract is for 3 years and earned $3,000,000 for 2012-13 and $3.25 million for 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively. He earned a $500,000 signing bonus in 2013-14 and has had a cap hit of $3,166,167 for all 3 seasons.

Bryce is the team’s current captain but at 38 years old, has had a gigantic drop-off in skill. Like Anton, Bryce ran into injury trouble and played in only 40 games. He had 1 goal and 3 assists. Salvador’s defensive play has ended up with him looking lost on most plays and when he does look like he is aware of his choice, he is more often than not making the wrong one.

Salvador probably won’t receive another contract after this one expires, at least not with the Devils. At 38 already, his time in the NHL is running out.

The Devils are facing a situation where they may not want to buyout Salvador’s contract, but will have to anyway. If they decide to buyout Salvador, Anton has much more value in a trade than Salvador does. Volchenkov’s contract would look nicer over more years after a buyout, but it is hard to deny the value Anton brings that Bryce simply doesn’t.

I would add a “Both” option, but that would just make things too easy.

Which defender would you rather see traded or bought out?

Which Defender Would You Rather See Gone?

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All contract information courtesy of Cap Geek.

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Tags: Anton Volchenkov Bryce Salvador Marek Zidlicky New Jersey Devils

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