The Devils Defense: Locked Up For Now


Eric Gelinas’ one year deal was the last move in an eventful summer for shaping up the Devils’ defense.

Going into the 2014-2015 season, New Jersey’s defense looks ready for opening night. Players will still have to prove themselves, as outsiders will be looking for roster spots, such as camp invite Tomas Kaberle or rookies ready to debut. However, come October 9th, the best bet will be that this will be the starting roster…

Line 1: Andy Greene & Jon Merrill

After Mark Fayne left Newark for Edmonton, one of the biggest questions was how the top pairing will look. Andy Greene is the cornerstone of this unit, and was treated so this offseason with a huge 5 year, $25 million extension. In terms of his line-mate, Jon Merrill would be the best fit. Merrill can be a bigger, stronger and most of all better version of Fayne. If the pairing works out, the two could see a great increase in their production.

Apr 1, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky (2) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Line 2: Marek Zidlicky & Bryce Salvador 

Not the most exciting pairing, but they will be relied upon heavily to guide and at times take pressure off the younger players of this group. Marek Zidlicky is the Devils’ most proven offensive weapon on the blue line, and if he can continue to produce, will spark the offense when needed. Salvador’s main priority will be leading this team. This is probably Bryce Salvador’s last season in New Jersey, so we can hope he leaves everything on the ice.

Line 3: Eric Gelinas & Adam Larrson

Both agreed to the same deal of $900,000 for one year and both will be playing to prove themselves. Eric Gelinas will be playing to prove he is worth a big contract, and if he continues to get better he very well will be. Adam Larsson, on the other hand, will be playing to prove he is worth keeping on the roster. Both players have tremendous talents and this season could really dictate their careers. Hopefully for the Devils, we see break out seasons for both of them.

7th Defenseman: Peter Harrold

Peter Harrold has been given so many opportunities to play, and seems to favor Peter DeBoer’s system. Harrold will be a nice fit if called upon to play in spots, or even if asked to cover extended time. Another name to keep in mind is Damon Severson, if Harrold is asked to fill in for a significant period of time, look for his name to be the next man called up.

Three months ago, New Jersey’s defense included such names as Anton Volchenkov and Mark Fayne, but both exited Newark this summer. Lou Lamoriello chose to exercise the final Devils’ buyouts on Volchie while Fayne was unable to agree to terms with New Jersey and signed with the Oilers on July 1st.

More from Devils News

The Devils have a solid group for the upcoming season. Last year, New Jersey finished sixth in goals allowed per game, and this year will look to better that mark. With a top tier goalie and a defense full of potential, New Jersey will look establish themselves this year as the best defense in the NHL.

The talent is here, but for how long? After the season, the only players remaining on the payroll are Greene and Merrill. Salvador will most-likely be gone, but it may be for the best as his age has been catching up with him these past couple of seasons. Harrold and Zidlicky will be unrestricted free agents; Larsson and Gelinas still fall under the restricted free agent label.

Devils fans barely have to worry with Lou Lamoriello at the reigns, but if this off-season was full of moves, next season will be even more exciting with so many moving pieces. The GM did a great job this off-season, but  we know he will be called upon next season to hopefully lock the defense up for the future.

What’s your opinion? Comment Below!