Saturday, July 1, 2017

Devils sign Brian Boyle,lose Beau Bennett

Photo Credit:Unknown
The free agency period for the New Jersey Devils began with a meh as the team signed one new player,lost one off the roster and received a body blow as the one player that the Devils seemed to covet most,signed with a rival team.

Let's start with the big blue monster in the room as the Devils biggest positional need didn't get addressed as the best player at his position (defenseman) chose a little less money to take a offer from a more glamorous franchise as Kevin Shattenkirk,a player often mentioned with the Devils in rumors before the signing period,signed a four year deal with the New York Rangers for over 26 million in total dollars.
The Devils had the most cap space in all of hockey and added more with the releases of Mike Cammalleri (who quickly signed with the Los Angeles Kings today) and Devonte Smith-Pelly,so they had the most money to offer the offensively skilled Shattenkirk in theory.
Now,whether they actually offered the most or not,I don't know,but they could have and I'd bet that they did.
Sometimes,money doesn't always talk and the Devils are in a position currently,that they may have to overpay players to come to Newark until the winning returns.
It's disappointing because Shattenkirk would have instantly added a piece that upgraded not just the position,but the entire team.
Ray Shero will still likely sign a defenseman or perhaps trade for one,but not landing Shattenkirk hurts and the Devils will have to do something at the position.

The Devils did add a player in veteran center Brian Boyle to a two year contract at a little over three million per year,
The 32 year old Boyle scored 13 goals with 12 assists in splitting last season between Tampa Bay and Toronto.
Boyle had previously spent time with the Kings and Rangers before heading to Tampa.
The large (6'6) veteran plays a very physical game,likes to throw his body around,is an above average penalty killer and is above average in winning faceoffs.
Boyle is pretty consistent in scoring goals as he usually is good for double digits (10 to 15) and should be a good fit on the fourth line especially,maybe even a little time on the third line when needed.
I'm OK on the signing.
Nothing to get excited about and it is a small overpay,but the Devils certainly have the cap space for a mild overpay and Boyle should upgrade the fourth line over the bunch that was sent out last year.

The red and black lost a player too as Beau Bennett left the Devils to sign with the St.Louis Blues on a one year deal for 650k.
Bennett was obtained last year from Pittsburgh and scored 19 points (6 goals,15 assists) in 65 games.
Bennett had a background with Ray Shero and John Hynes and I liked him as a player with energy,but he's always had problems staying on the ice and despite rumors that Bennett wished to stay,the Devils did not make him a qualifying offer.
Fear The Fin (a San Jose Sharks site) uses advanced metrics to show why some think Beau Bennett could be a steal for the Blues.

I'm not sure the Devils improved very much today.
Brian Boyle will add some special teams help and he does shore up the center position on the fourth line,but I was hoping the Devils would re-sign Beau Bennett and the cost would not have been oppressive.
Put that aside and look at the failure to bring in a defenseman and it's not tough to see that the Devils might have been running laterally on day one..

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