NJ Devils Roster Projections Version 2.0


Last week I attempted to project what the Devils’ roster would look like come opening night. Now that all the preseason games are over and there’s a better idea what the team will look like, I’ll take another shot at it. So here we go, my best guess at making Devils roster projections by the time they suit up on October 9th in Philadelphia.

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I’ll start with the easy one. In goal it will be Cory Schneider and Scott Clemmensen. I had originally thought that Keith Kinkaid would win the backup job, but I was wrong. The Devils instead went with the veteran Clemmensen to backup Schneider. It is the logical move to make, as Schneider is the undisputed #1 and he will play every game he can. It does make sense from a logical standpoint to send Kinkaid back down to Albany and let him play every day. However, my thought was to let Kinkaid be the backup and have him learn how to adjust to that role. Cory Schneider is signed through the 2021-2022 season so he’s not going anywhere. Kinkaid’s only shot at being a constant on the Devils would be as his backup. Why not let him grow into that role? Either way, the move to have Clemmensen backup does make sense and that’s who will be behind Schneider opening night.

Defense is also pretty straightforward. The top-6 should look like this on opening night:

Andy Greene – Jon Merrill

Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky

Eric Gelinas – Adam Larsson

I would really be surprised if that isn’t the six who dress in Philly. The only real question is who gets the seventh defensive spot. My money is on Peter Harrold simply because Head Coach Peter DeBoer loves his versatility and also because Damon Severson can be sent to Albany without going through waivers. That being said, Severson has played his way onto the team. He truly has earned a chance in the NHL. He’s most likely going to get caught in a numbers game that sends him to the AHL. There’s a chance however that the Devils may very well choose Severson over Harrold and I wouldn’t be surprised one bit. The kid has earned his place. But do we want him making the team and then sitting most nights? I’d rather he played every day.

Up front is a whole different mess that is going to be interesting to see how it plays out. I’ll be shocked if the 14 players I project to make the team are the 14 Lou Lamoriello decides on. It’s really too wide open and anything can happen. There are 17 players still left in camp who can grab those precious roster spots. Here’s what I think it will look like opening night:

Mike Cammalleri – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr

Martin Havlat – Patrik Elias – Dainius Zubrus

Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique –  Damien Brunner

Tuomo Ruutu – Ryan Carter – Jordin Tootoo

Stephen Gionta

Scott Gomez

Those would be my 14. I know you’re asking where  Michael Ryder is and that’s a good question. As I wrote in a previous article, I just don’t see how both he and Brunner fit on the team. My guess is that Lamoriello trades one of them by Tuesday – many Devils fans agree that they want Ryder to be the one traded based on the poll in that article. That opens up one spot for PTO Ryan Carter to get signed. Then how do the other two PTOs, Jordin Tootoo and Scott Gomez, get contracts? That means Steve Bernier and Jacob Josefson are on their way out. The Devils could try and get them through waivers and have them go to Albany, but I’m not sure Josefson would make it through. He’s a 23-year-old former first round pick and someone will probably take a chance on him. It’s more likely Lamoriello attempts to trade him for something, anything. It appears to me that the Josefson love fest is coming to an end with the Devils, but they could always surprise me and decide to keep him over Gomez.

Nothing is set in stone and as I said, I will be happy but shocked if my projections are perfect. I hope they are, but only time will tell. Player cuts are coming and the Devils need to move five guys, so we shall see what happens. Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for all of your Devils news and analysis.