“We’ll do what we can to retain them,” Lamoriello said. “We’d like to keep the three.”
That is what New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said to NJ.com’s Rich Chere about re-signing forwards Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter, and Stephen Gionta. As much as the Devils, Lamoriello, and Peter Deboer love the CBGB line, they should not be returning next season.
As of now, all three are set to be unrestricted free agents this summer and if the quote above is true, that will not be for long. This is not the best news for Devils fans.
Although the three bring a lot of energy and physicality to the team, the CBGB line packs a lot of negatives that greatly outweigh the positives. Here is why.
Combined, the three posted horrendous statistics. In 206 combined games, the trio produced 14 goals and 19 assists as well as a whopping minus-29. That is absolutely horrible. Plus-minus aside, that is an average of .16 points/game, otherwise known as, useless.
Carter and Gionta unfortunately get their name tarnished here because of Bernier. Carter had some strong qualities, such as having a shooting-% of 10.1% and being voted players player at the team awards. Gionta is a very effective penalty killer and is the Devils most physical player.
Bernier on the other hand, is a waste of space on the Devils roster. He plays more minutes than the other two, while scoring less goals. His shooting-% of 2.9% was the worst on the team (players without goals not included). Do not even get started about his minus-15 rating, that is pitiful. Even Cam Janssen scored the same amount of goals as Bernie!
Not only are the players not effective, but they are taking up roster spots from younger players doing everything they can to break onto the NHL roster. Guys like Stefan Matteau, Reid Boucher, and Jacob Josefson are working their butts off every day so they can get a shot at the everyday NHL lineup. They should be able to with at least two of the three gone.
Matteau would fit perfectly in the fourth line spot until he develops into the scoring power-forward he eventually will be. Boucher would force a veteran down a line so he could play with better scorers. Lastly, Josefson is a young player with a lot of talent that could develop into a solid depth player for the Devils.
Lamoriello bringing the CBGB line back will only slow down the progress of the Devils and the development of their players. Bringing in veterans equally or less effective as the 20-year-old players in our system is a recipe for disaster for the Devils future.