On the first day of the free agency period this summer, the Devils were actively addressing their lack of scoring with two major signings as well as securing Cory Schneider a viable back-up.
Cory Schneider and Andy Greene have reached contract extensions and aside from that, no news has come from New Jersey’s front office. With only weeks before the Devil’s season opener in Philly, there are still movies to be made.
Ryan Carter and Eric Gelinas have both proved to be vital members of the New Jersey Devils. During New Jersey’s run for the cup in 2011-12, Carter made quite an impression; scoring 5 goals and recording 2 assists. Carter’s line that postseason was one of the most productive fourth lines in the playoffs and GM Lou Lamoriello has since tried to keep the men together. With both Carter’s line-mates, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier, resigning this off-season, all Lou needs is to bring Carter back in hopes that the CBGB line can return to their form from three postseasons ago.
Playing in 60 games this season, rookie defender Eric Gelinas made quite a splash. Gelinas posted 7 goals and 22 assists in his first full season in the NHL; finishing 3rd among Devils’ defense-men in offensive production. Even more impressive were Gelinas’ numbers during the power play, where he finished with 5 goals and 12 assists during the man-advantage last season. As strong an offensive season Gelinas had, he also had the potential of being a top tier defender in the NHL last year. Some rookie mistakes were made, but after a few more years in the league Gelinas could prove to be one of the top defenders in the league on both sides of the ice.
So if both Ryan Carter and Eric Gelinas are integral Devils players, why are both still unsigned?
Carter is currently an unrestricted free agent and rumors of him crossing the Hudson have lingered since July 1st. GM Lou Lamoriello has expressed interest in retaining Carter but a deal does not currently seem imminent. Carter’s not in a position to negotiate, so the likelihood of him holding out for increased pay or a longer commitment is low. It is likely, however, that he is worried about the number of forwards already on the roster. More forwards on the roster lowers Carter’s probability of time on the ice. If a move is made and a roster spot becomes available, expect a press conference announcing Ryan Carter’s return to New Jersey.
Unlike Carter, Eric Gelinas does have some room to negotiate after an exciting rookie season. The hype surrounding #22 is felt throughout the entire organization and fan base, and Coach Pete DeBoer has already labeled him the team’s “X-factor” in the coming season. With the potential to be a quality defender while also putting up above average points offensively, Gelinas will soon be inked into a major contract if he continues improving. As for now, a slot in the Devils’ defensive six is saved for him, but until he’s signed its not official. When terms are finally agreed upon, expect the deal to come in around 2 years, $2.25 million per year.
We, the fans, have been playing the waiting game all summer, and with no sign of a deal in the works, it’s hard to estimate when one will be reached. What you can be sure of, is that by opening night both Carter and Gelinas will be signed. But in Ryan Carter’s case, by who?