Eighteen years after his father broke the hearts of New Jersey Devils fans everywhere, his son has a contract with the very same team.
New Jersey signed first round draft pick Stefan Matteau to an entry-level contract. As per club rules, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Matteau, 18, was the 29th overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. He spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development program, collecting 32 points (15g, 17a) and 166 penalty minutes for the under-18 squad this past season. He also participated in USA Hockey’s Under-20 Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid earlier this month.
While he’s expected to play for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL next season, Matteau said he’s looking to make the NHL roster this season. He participated in the Devils prospect camp this summer, and earned praise from general manager Lou Lamoriello.
For the past 10 years, Colin White became a staple of the New Jersey Devils’ defense.
For several of those years, he stayed buried under the bigger names on the blue line, with Scott Stevens and others leading the charge. But as players began to retire or leave in free agency, White became an important piece of the defense.
He earned the respect of his teammates, overcoming a gruesome eye injury during training camp in 2007 that almost cost him his career. He became an assistant captain, and at times was asked to act as captain.
But White carried an ugly $3 million cap hit, and the Devils were in a cap crunch. Despite trading Brian Rolston three days ago (and ridding themselves of his $5.2 million contract), Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello wanted more wiggle room. With the rise of prospects and the possible return of Bryce Salvador, White became an expendable piece on the blue line.
Lamoriello placed White on waivers today, and intends to buy him out if he clears. The Devils’ general manager admitted it wasn’t an easy decision.
“He’s been a pure Devil,” Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “It’s unfortunate, but there comes a point when young players have to get a chance. With long-term contracts in this league, this is not unusual, but it is unfortunate.”
White ended his ten-year run with 20 goals and 105 assists in 743 regular season games. A former second round draft pick in 1996, the defenseman won two Stanley Cup championships in 2000 and 2003.
Lamoriello and White discussed the move during an end of the season meeting.
“Colin and I sat down and the end of the season and after the discussion we decided just to go and get a bit of a change,” Lamoriello told Gulitti.
If the team buys out White, they will need to pay two thirds of his contract over twice the remaining years. He’s due $3 million this year, in the last year of his contract. New Jersey will pay him $1 million over the next two seasons.
White remained the last stalwart of the Devils’ dynasty defenses. He seemed to play better last season, and showed aggressive play we haven’t seen in the past few seasons. He got into a few scrums and generally threw his body around. For the first time in a long time, White played like the younger version of himself.
With the move, Patrik Elias and Martin Brodeur are the only remaining Devils with championship rings. The move also places a ton of confidence in Salvador’s recovery. The defenseman missed all of last season battling post-concussion symptoms, and has yet to participate in contact drills. It also opens a spot along the blueline for one of the Devils’ young defensive prospects.
Lamoriello believes the move allows White an opportunity somewhere else.
“This will be good for Colin,” Lamoriello told Gulitti. “Now, as an unrestricted free agent, he can pick where he wants to go.”
The Devils also placed recently acquired Trent Hunter on waivers. Hunter, acquired in the Rolston trade, has two years and $2 million remaining on his contract. If New Jersey buys him out, they’ll owe him $666,667 for the next four seasons.
The days of Devils enforcer are over for Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.
Leblond, nicknamed “PL3,” was traded to the Calgary Flames for a 2012 fifth-round pick. The Devils banished Leblond to the minors last season after he earned an automatic one-game suspension for instigating a fight with Washington’s Marcus Johansson in the final five minutes of a 7-2 loss on October 9. He played only two NHL games last season, collecting no points and 21 penalty minutes. He had 13 points and 334 penalty minutes in 64 games with the Albany Devils. The former seventh-round pick finished his Devils career with no goals, three assists and 91 penalty minutes in 37 NHL games.
A change in Leblond’s contract could have necessitated the trade. His contract changed from a two-way to one-way deal this year, carrying a $525,000 cap hit. Earlier in the summer, I wrote that Letourneau-Leblond’s days with New Jersey were probably done. Looks like that came true.
Zharkov, Corrente, Wiseman Re-sign
Zharkov accepted his qualifying offer – a one-year, two-way deal. He’ll make $577,500 in the NHL and $62, 500 in the AHL. Zharkov played in 38 NHL games last season, recording four points. In 31 AHL games, he collected 19 points. He seemed to solidify his position in the lineup last year, fitting in the bottom two lines. His overall performance probably earned him a shot at a consistent roster spot next season.
Corrente, like Zharkov, accepted his qualifying offer. His one-year, two-way deal carries an NHL salary of $660,000. Last season, he skated in just 22 NHL games. A shoulder injury ended his season, and he returns looking to hold onto a roster spot. With some young blueliners threating to grab roster spots, this will be a big year for Corrente to prove himself. His willingness to drop the gloves will easily replace Letourneau-Leblond, and his offensive capabilities will hopefully finally develop.
Chad Wiseman re-signed as an unrestricted free agent, inking a two-year, two-way deal. He’ll carry an NHL salary of $525,000 and an AHL salary of $105,000. Wiseman collected 44 points, and matched the team record for most goals in a period with four. He hasn’t found much success in the NHL, but provides quality organization depth.
The New Jersey Devils welcomed their prospects Monday, a class that includes fourth-overall pick Adam Larsson. But there’s one noticeable vacancy overshadowing all of them.
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record that the team will have a coach soon. They just won’t have him installed this week.
“It won’t be long,” Lamoriello told Gulitti. “(But) it won’t be this week.”
The delay in naming a new head coach has stretched longer than any time in recent memory. Several names were tied to the vacancy, but none were named by management as targets. Mike Haviland, a Chicago Blackhawks assistant and a New Jersey native, found his name once again connected to a Devils head coaching vacancy. Former NHL coaches Ken Hitchcock and Michel Therrien both found themselves mentioned as possibilities. Some media members speculated that ex-Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay could fill the position. But after his termination, he joined the Florida Panthers staff.
Media reports even linked the Devils to the collegiate ranks. Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves, rumored to want a NHL head coaching job, found himself mentioned in the pool of possible candidates. He denied any connection to the position in a report two weeks ago.
With no coach in place, Larry Robinson will lead camp. He twice served as head coach, and spent last season as an assistant. He, like many others, is not an option for the coaching vacancy.
It seems the organization views the situation with a laid-back feeling. But the team should be concerned. They need to establish a system, and the rookies should have an opportunity to prove themselves in front of the most important decision makers. Instead, the players skate for people who don’t hold much control over roster decisions. It’s also important for these young players to learn the system of their (possible) future head coach.
At this time next week, the Devils may have a new head coach. But it’s once again another significant offseason event where the Devils lag behind the rest of the league.
With the New Jersey Devils defense still ailing, rookie Alexander Urbom was called up to join New Jersey.
In 40 games this season for Albany of the AHL, Urbom recorded 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) and 29 penalty minutes. He was a minus-5 this season.
Urbom played seven games with the Devils earlier this season. He failed to record a point and was a minus-3.
The rookie defenseman believes his time in the AHL helped him develop.
“It’s good when you play a lot,” he said to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “When you get a lot of ice time, it’s great. That’s what develops you as a player. When you get a lot of ice time and power play (time) and stuff like that, it’s good.”
For full coverage of tonight’s Ottawa Senators – New Jersey Devils game, check out SB Nation New York.
Several media outlets, including Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, said that Jamie Langenbrunner has been asked to waive his no trade clause.
The Devils’ captain will not play in tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
For more information, please check out SB Nation New York.
The New Jersey Devils completed a long-awaited roster move today, assigning Brian Rolston to Albany of the AHL today.
The team plans to bring him back through re-entry waivers.
For more on the story, see my post on SB Nation New York.