Friday, June 30, 2017

Devils keep Kinkaid,buy out Cammalleri..

The New Jersey Devils and general manager Ray Shero had plenty of cap space already with July 1st and the start of free agency looming,but they shuffled the available space just before the period started with a re-signing and creating even more space with two players being bought out on free agency eve.

First,the retention as the Devils re-signed backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a two season contract worth a combined 2.5 million to stay as the steady backup to Cory Schneider.
Kinkaid went 8-13 in 21 starts (played in 26 games total) with a goals allowed average of  2.64 last season.
Kinkaid might not be the future of the franchise,but I'm glad he's sticking around.
Kinkaid's effort isn't a question and it's not like the Devils would save any money bringing in another backup from elsewhere as the cost for backup goaltenders is right along the cost of this deal,so why not keep a popular and a player of similar skill in house?
The main trickle down with this signing is that it shows that the Devils aren't as enthused with Scott Wedgewood being a seriously challenger to backup Schneider and it also buys the Devils time to continue to develop former first round draft pick Mackenzie Blackwood to eventually take that role,if not the starting position.

That signing was somewhat expected,but today's buyouts of Mike Cammalleri and Devonte Smith-Pelly came as somewhat of a surprise,but the timing makes sense in hindsight,if the Devils are going to attempt to be somewhat of a player in free agency.
The 35 year old Cammalleri finished with 10 goals and 21 assists in 61 games last season,but over the course of his Devils career has never been able to stay consistently healthy and missed much of the final two months of the season.
Cammalleri scored 27 goals in the first season of his five year deal with New Jersey,but only scored 24 goals combined in the two seasons after that and with age and health concerns seemed to be a lag on the cap for the next seasons.
Cammalleri will still carry a 1.6 million cap hit over the next two seasons,but shedding his five million dollar contract still created a sizable amount of cap space.
Cammalleri was the final big free agency addition of the Lou Lamiorello era and will leave Newark as he came-with injury questions for any team that decides to ink him to a contract.
Much as with Ryane Clowe,it shows the dangers of expecting a veteran player with injury issues to overcome them with age-they rarely get past those problems and they usually get worse.

Devante Smith-Pelly burst onto the Devils scene with a strong 18 game cameo to end the 2015-16 season after being obtained from Montreal for Stefan Matteau,but that player never arrived last season in finishing with just four in 53 games,which was half as many as he scored in his initial month plus with the team.
Smith-Pelly will bring a small cap hit (average 200K) over the next two seasons,but Ray Shero has made the comment of "passengers" unwanted,which refers to players that don't always bring their top game every night and even dating to his Montreal days,that has been a rap on the right winger.
This is one of those "change culture" moves that you often hear about when bad teams are in the process of clearing players,so this one doesn't come as a huge surprise.

I'll have coverage of tonight's IBF lightweight title fight later and tomorrow,I'll be around with any Devils news from day one of the free agency cattle run!
I also have two features finished and on deck for a slow news day,so I hope you'll enjoy some good stuff soon to stick around for-especially for my Devils-only readers!


Davey Leveller said...

Nice article. Good points. Let's clean house & do this re-build right !! :)

Shawn said...

Thanks and I agree-I think they are another high draft pick away from really having a foundation built.