The New Jersey Devils announced that they have come to terms on a 1 year, two-way contract with veteran goaltender Scott Clemmensen to compete with the younger goalies in the system for the backup role to Cory Schneider. This move is a total “blast from the past” for myself and many others fans who remember Clemmensen from his time in the Devils farm system, his path to the NHL through Albany, and his time with Devils back in 2003-04 when he was first called up from the minors.
He was the backup to Martin Brodeur in 2005-06 and then he left and went to a different organization. Clemmensen returned in 2008-09, and after a major injury to Brodeur, he stepped in and won 25 games that season. He played brilliantly right when the Devils needed him the most. I think Lou Lamoriello is trying to catch lightning in a bottle with him again.
Clemmensen parlayed those 25 wins into a contract with the Florida Panthers and that has been where he has played since he last left New Jersey in the summer of 2009.
This contract is very low-risk for New Jersey because it has the two-way stipulation in it meaning that Clemmensen can be sent to the minor leagues if he does not win a spot on the roster out of training camp. In the event that he does earn the backup goaltending job, it is a 1 year deal for minimal salary.
The Devils made this move late after indicating to the media that they were done for the day, then they announced this transaction. This move fills another priority role for the Devils, the backup goaltender, who will be called upon frequently to deal with scheduling issues like long road trips, back-to-back games, and the fact that Schneider has never been a full time goaltender for an entire season.
On a personal level, I like the pickup of Clemmensen, I remember games in the stands where I saw him play for the Devils and he was pretty solid. I remember one game in particular at the old Meadowlands where he got cut by a skate making a save and he played the game with dried up blood on his jersey. Good old school hockey memories.
I also have been to a few games where he returned as the goalie for the Panthers, and one night I remember he made some unbelievable saves to preserve an unlikely victory for Florida which also damaged the Devils playoff hopes at that time.
He will definitely provide competition for the younger goaltenders in the Devils system, and if he earns the job, he will provide a veteran presence to this team on the nights when they will need to give Schneider a rest during the long season ahead.
(Statistics and some background courtesy of NHL.com and Turner Sports)