Why didn’t the New Jersey Devils re-sign Mark Fayne?


When the New Jersey Devils face off against the Edmonton Oilers, there will be a familiar face staring back at them. Mark Fayne, who the Devils decided not to re-sign in this most recent offseason, is now an important member of the Edmonton blue line. In an article by Rich Chere of the The Star Ledger, Fayne stated they he had every intention of coming back to the Devils. He spent the entire offseason planning a return to the club he played his entire four year career for, but the Devils seemingly had moved on so he decided to make a move to Edmonton.

Mark Fayne was always a personal favorite of mine during his time in New Jersey, and I didn’t understand the decision not to bring him back. It seemed like a no-brainer that the two of the first moves the Devils would make in the offseason were the re-signing of Fayne and fellow free agent Ryan Carter. Unfortunately, the Devils decided to let both players leave and I’m honestly not sure why. Mark Fayne was an extremely underrated defenseman for the Devils and he should still be playing with them.

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One reason that it appears the Devils did not bring Fayne back was because they didn’t like the price tag. Fayne ended up signing a four year, $14.5 million contract with the Oilers when free agency opened. When I heard what the contract details were on that July afternoon, my confusion grew. Why didn’t the Devils match that contract? Why would they let one of their most valuable defensemen leave for such a reasonable price?

Mark Fayne is making $4 million this season and then $3.5 million the next three. In comparison, Bryce Salvador is making $3.167 million to play no defense for the Devils this year. Which would you rather have? Fayne is only 27-years-old and has plenty of good hockey left in him. A contract with a very modest cap hit that would only bring him to his age 31 season made all the sense in the world. Why did the Oilers realize that and not the Devils?

Another reason given that the Devils didn’t sign Fayne, aside from the money, was that they had no room for him. Granted, the emergence of future superstar Damon Severson has made the Fayne departure much easier to handle. The Devils also have young defensemen Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, Eric Gelinas and Seth Helgeson that have proven they deserve to play as well. Then there’s Andy Greene is who is the future captain of the club so he’s not going anywhere. Marek Zidlicky was re-signed this offseason for one year at $3 million which was a good move by Lamoriello. So that’s seven defenders already that deserve a roster spot not even including current captain Salvador and Peter DeBoer favorite Peter Harrold.

While I get the notion that there’s no room, I also feel like that’s a bunch of bologna. If the Devils wanted to make room for Mark Fayne, they would have. Harrold could be sent to Albany, like he was to start the season. Helgeson could play in Albany as well and get more seasoning. Then there’s the obvious move of getting rid of Salvador who’s a far inferior defender to Fayne. Three of the nine defenders off the roster and voilá there’s room for Fayne.

Some fans were down on Mark Fayne early in his career, but he really became a huge part of the Devils’ defense especially during the Finals run of 2012 when he formed a solid top pairing with Greene. I always loved what he brought to the team. I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand not re-signing him, but there’s nothing we can do about it now.