The New Jersey Devils remained relatively quiet for the most part to begin free agency.
While big dollars were being thrown around the league, the Devils stayed in-house, re-signing D Andy Greene to a four-year contract and G Johan Hedberg to a one-year contract.
While the contract specifics haven't been officially released, the rumor out there is Andy Greene's deal is for an average of $3 million, and my guess is Hedberg's deal is in the vicinity of $1.5 million.
With only a little over $12 million in available cap space coming into today, it wasn't expected for GM Lou Lamoriello to make any big splashes. There were rumors they were in the mix for Ian White, but my guess is that was a backup plan in case things fell through for Greene, who clearly wanted to return to New Jersey.
Backup goalies started filling in around the league and Hedberg wanted to come back, so it made it an easy fit for the Moose to return.
The big move Devils fans can expect from their team is to sign Zach Parise to a long-term contract. While time is not of the essence with Parise's arbitration hearing in late July (at a minimum), I still remain confident that a multi-year deal will get done to keep him in New Jersey.
Barring a trade, I would think the Devils will remain relatively quiet as they look to sign first-round draft pick Adam Larsson to add to the stable. I wouldn't expect those negotiations to pick up much steam until after the prospects camp next week, when the Devils will begin to get an idea of how close to being NHL-ready Larsson is and whether or not they foresee him playing for the Devils this upcoming season.
Before training camp, I also would expect the Devils to bring in one or two signings for depth, similar to the Dean McAmmond, Adam Mair or Rob Niedermayer types of signings they have made in the past.
It's easy to play the hindsight card and say that the Devils could have had Greene for a cheaper price had Lamoriello pounced on signing Greene earlier.
However, Lamoriello works methodically and patiently as he tries to accumulate all the possible facts before making decisions. He did not necessarily know how high the salary cap would be and he also has a better idea of what trade possibilities he may have available to him as well as a better idea of what draft pick he has (Adam Larsson) and what contract it might take to sign Zach Parise long term.
After struggling with the salary-cap ceiling last season, you can bet Lamoriello likely won't make the same mistake for this year. After this upcoming season, lots of cap space will open up for the Devils, as Martin Brodeur ($5.2 million), Brian Rolston ($5.062 million), Colin White ($3 million) and Bryce Salvador ($2.9 million) will all be off the books, providing great flexibility for the Devils.
I'm glad to see Lamoriello remain patient rather than overpay like some of his contemporaries have, so the Devils will be better off in both the short term (this season) and beyond because of it.
All in all, it clearly doesn't seem to be an offseason comparable to last year, but after experiencing the Summer of Kovalchuk last year, that may be a good thing.
I'm sure beat writers and fans alike won't miss all the time spent following the proceedings last summer. I know I won't.
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