Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Today was the deadline for NHL clubs to cut their rosters down to 23, but GM and president Lou Lamoriello found a way to temporarily circumvent that rule.
By designating Mattias Tedenby as and injured nonroster player and placing Patrik Elias on IR back dated to last week, The Devils still technically have 25 players with the team.
Even so, a final roster is much clearer than it was a week ago.
The New Jersey Devils will begin the 2013-14 season with the best goaltending duo in the NHL. Although it remains unclear exactly how head coach Pete DeBoer will split starts between Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider, either player will give New Jersey plenty of security between the pipes.
Conventional knowledge would suggest that, for the first portion of the season at least, Martin Brodeur will get a majority of the starts, however small that majority may be. New Jersey knows, however, that Schneider is the future of this franchise. Do not be surprised if his playing time increases as the season moves along.
Although Lamoriello was hoping to see a young defenseman crack the lineup out of training camp, it now looks like that may not happen. Alexander Urbom is still with the team, but when Elias and Tedenby return, Urbom would be a likely candidate for demotion.
If Urbom does go down, the Devils will play the same defensemen as last year, but that is not a bad thing by any means. Last season, New Jersey allowed a league-low 23 shots per game. If they can replicate that kind of play in 2013-14, the Devils should be in every game they play.
When David Clarkson signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ilya Kovalchuk shocked the team by announcing his retirement from the NHL, Devils fans were justifiably pessimistic about the team's offense. With the signings of Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder, Jaromir Jagr and Damien Brunner, the departed players should have been adequately replaced.
The Devils have a very nice complement of both young talent (Adam Henrique, Andrei Loktionov, Brunner) and veteran leadership (Patrik Elias, Jagr, Travis Zajac).
Although it may be impossible replace Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils should be more comfortable rolling all four lines in 2013-14. They may have lost Kovalchuk, but he has been replaced by a deep pool of forwards.
Last season, when Kovalchuk missed a handful of games late in the season, the team collapsed in on itself. Over the course of a long season, New Jersey will look to prove that depth is more valuable than one star.
Players on the Cusp
Defenseman Adam Larsson and forward Damien Brunner will be looking to break out at the NHL level this year.
Larsson has been with the Devils for a few years now, but he has yet to establish a foothold at the highest level. This year, he should be ready to take his defensive game to the next level and contribute more on offense.
Damien Brunner, meanwhile, played in his first full season, albeit lockout-shortened, with the Detroit Red Wings last year. He was very impressive with 12 goals and 14 assists, adding another nine points in the playoffs.
This year, he will try to prove that those numbers are not a fluke.