Kukla's Korner

Devil's Advocate

Schneider gets long-term deal

The Cory Schenider era is now fully underway after the goalie signed a long-term deal with the New Jersey Devils Wednesday.

The contract is worth a reported $6 million per season according to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record and takes away the ugly possibility that Schneider could leave as an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season.

Now, with Martin Brodeur almost assuredly out of the picture in New Jersey, the Devils have their new No. 1 goalie solidly in place.

Brodeur remains an unrestricted free agent, but with Devils General Manager indicating that Keith Kinkaid will be given the chance to be the backup, and with Scott Clemmensen back in the organization, there is really no need to have Brodeur return. The veteran has said that he will take his time and survey the NHL landscape this summer in order to find a good fit for what he sees as his final NHL season.

Since the Devils acquired Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks for a first round draft pick at the 2013 Entry Draft, the transition in New Jersey's goal has been under way. Schneider, 28, clearly is the present and future for New Jersey.       

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Jagr expected back with Devils

updated 4:23pm,

It's official, Devils sign Jagr

The Devils made it official Wednesday afternoon, announcing that winger Jaromir Jagr had signed a one-year deal.

According to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record, the contract has a base salary of $3.5 million and a games-played bonus that could make the deal worth $5.5 million.

Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, told Gulitti negotiations were not complicated because both sides were interested in getting a deal done.

“Jaromir wanted to be here next season and he had no question his mind that he wanted to be back with the Devils and the Devils expressed that they wanted him back so after that there wasn’t really that much to talk about,” Svoboda said.

In addition to being named a finalist for the Masterton Trophy, Jaromir Jagr appears set to return to New Jersey for a second season.

The one-year contract was expected to be announced later Wednesday and return the Devils’ top scorer, who netted 24 goals and 43 assists last season.

Jagr expressed a desire to return to the Devils after his solid season and after winning rave reviews from coach Pete DeBoer and teammates, Devils President and General Manager moved to make it happen.

Jagr is playing for the Czech Republic at the World Championships and told reporters there he already agreed to the new contract. Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record that Jagr’s comment was “jumping the gun.” Still, Lamoriello told Gulitti: “We have been talking and I feel it will get done.”

According to TVA Sports Renaud Lavoie, Jagr’s one-year deal will include a games-played bonuses that could pay Jagr between $5 million and $6 million. Jagr, a potential unrestricted free agent, had a similar deal last season. Gulitti reported his deal was for $2 million with a games-played bonus of an additional $2 million he reached by playing in all 82 games.

“He wanted to come back and for many reasons we wanted him back,” Lamoriello told Gulitti. “He certainly played very well for us and we feel he’s an important part of our team.”

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Report says Brodeur gets one last home game

added 2:47pm

Update: With Pierre LeBrun reporting the Wild have acquired Ilya Bryzgalov from the Oilers, talk of Brodeur having already been traded to Minnesota appears to be untrue.

This from the New York Daily News -- which, to be fair, doesn't do a great job covering the Devils.

"With Wednesday’s NHL trading deadline looming, a source told the Daily News the Devils and Minnesota have agreed upon a deal that would send the lifelong Devil and future Hall of Famer to the Wild. The deal is pending the approval of Brodeur, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, and, according to the source, wanted one last home game with the Devils."

That would mean Tuesday night's game against the Red Wings at Prudential Center could very well be the end of an era for both the team and its franchise player.

Brodeur told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, nothing has changed in his situation.

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Finding a fairy tale ending

In a perfect ending, Martin Brodeur hefts the Stanley Cup over his head and makes a graceful exit, the way the great Lanny McDonald did way back when.

And Brodeur may still get to achieve that rare ending, but he will likely have to wear another uniform to do it.

In recent days there have been enough media reports going around to make you realize something is likely to happen to Brodeur's status with the New Jersey Devils in the coming days.

"I hope it will never happen , but if there is a situation that could be really fun for me and really good for the Devils, why not?" Brodeur told Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger. "It's not like I'm going to play 25 more years here."

Still ...

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Not as rosy as Kovy thinks

Well, it sure is good to know that Ilya Kovalchuk is happy back in Russia and that he thinks things have worked out for the New Jersey Devils as well.

Of course, Kovalchuk might want to actually have paid more than lip service to his former team before making that declaration.

Yeah, it has worked out just great for Kovalchuk. His "retirement" lasted about a nanosecond before he signed on in the Kontinental Hockey League and he will be wowing the home crowd in Sochi in a couple weeks. Yep, just ducky for Kovy.

“I’m really enjoying everything here,” Kovalchuk said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s a great league. The game is different, but we are getting there. There are good players here for sure.”

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Devils happy to take breaks in win over Anaheim

Sure, Teemu Selanne was nailed for a double minor for high sticking Andy Greene when it was actually the stick of New Jersey's Marek Zidlicky that did the damage. New Jersey scored twice with the man advantage. And sure, the winning goal in Wednesday's 4-3 overtime decision over the Anaheim Ducks caromed off the Ducks' Corey Perry, but the Devils are more than willing to accept the two points and move on.

“We’ll take it,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “We had a bunch of those go against us in the first 10 games of the season and I think all those kind of breaks even themselves out. I think we knew that when we were going through the tough period and we got a couple tonight.”

Finally, New Jersey is at the .500 mark -- or the NHL equivalent of such -- at 8-8-5. It was a long time coming for the Devils, who had a big hole to climb from after a debilitating 1-5-4 start to the season. But the Devils, who have much of their game now under control, aside from an offense that still sputters too much, were happy to nail a couple lucky breaks and send Anaheim to its first home loss of the season.

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Brodeur Finds His Game, Saves Devils

So much for Martin Brodeur riding off into the sunset, eh?

Brodeur had pretty much said his days as the New Jersey Devils' top goalie were done back on Oct. 19, when his slow start and the presence of Cory Schneider told Brodeur he should expect to spend a lot of time at the end of the Devils' bench. Heck, there were even stories that Brodeur would consider a trade to a playoff-bound team if New Jersey fell out of contention.

But now, Brodeur is back on the ice and doing his level best to get the Devils into the postseason, with the most recent example of turning back the clock being Wednesday's 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

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Logical Brodeur accepts change in nets

Martin Brodeur has been as logical as a Vulcan for pretty much his entire career. It's hard to remember any outbursts or antics about anything that has occurred during his time with the New Jersey Devils.

Which makes it altogether unsurprising in reading Wednesday's media reports that Brodeur acknowledged that Cory Schneider had assumed the top spot among the goalies without anger or rancor.

“I think every time you go through kind of a change with goalies and stuff it’s always a story,” Brodeur told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “It doesn’t mean it’s just with the Devils. Vancouver dealt with that for three years in a row. It happens. I think we’re in a situation that whatever the coach feels is the best opportunity for him to win, he’s going to do it, and right now the way Cory’s been playing he’s well deserved to be in the net.

“I’m not saying I don’t deserve, but if that’s what the coach feels, it’s fine.

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Devils facing difficult cuts among forwards

Rumors had swirled during the summer that Damian Brunner would call New Jersey home for the 2013-14 season, but the sudden signing of Jaromir Jagr seemed to end all that speculation as New Jersey had more than enough candidates to flesh out four lines.

Well, there is always room for one more apparently. As Brunner, the former Detroit Red Wing, remained unsigned the General Manager Lou Lamoriello extended a training camp invitation and after picking up two assists in two preseason games, Brunner will indeed call New Jersey home this season.

"He came to camp without a contract and certainly earned where he's at," Lamoriello said. "He showed us what he can do, firsthand. There's no better way of making a decision or a judgement when you have that opportunity.

Brunner, now wearing No. 12, told reporters he is happy with his new home.

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For New Jersey, a Devilishly interesting season

I am pleased to announce Phil Coffey will be taking over The Devils Advocate blog and will continue writing in Iced Coffey too. More on Phil at the bottom of this post. -Paul

By Phil Coffey

With one of the most tumultuous summers in franchise history now tucked away in the history book, how will the New Jersey Devils fare in 2013-14?

Let's be clear right from the top. Any team that loses Ilya Kovalchuk isn't going to be as good minus the scoring forward as with him, but in this case, the Devils were not presented with much of an option after Kovalchuk announced his NHL retirement and retreated to the KHL in Russia.

Now minus Kovalchuk, but augmented by a slew of new faces brought in by General Manager Lou Lamoriello, the Devils will test the waters in the newly reshuffled Eastern Conference, where grabbing one of the eight playoff spots is easier said than done.

Still, I'm not buying the Devils as Eastern bottom feeders just yet. Right now, the Devils are an amalgamation of new parts trying to mesh with the holdovers from the 2013 team that stumbled badly when injuries first sidelined goalie Martin Brodeur and then Kovalchuk, scuttling New Jersey's playoff hopes.

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About Devil's Advocate

I am an all around NHL fan. I love to watch Atlantic Division, and root for the Philadelphia Flyers. Just because I cheer for the Flyers, doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with the other teams in the division, specifically the New Jersey Devils. Devils Advocate will provide you with the most important Devils news, filled with my opinion about the selected topic.

Like what you read? Hated it? Have something else you want to read about? Let me know, I always like to hear from my readers and what they want to see.

Email: pavlakd@rider.edu


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