For the New Jersey Devils, the salary cap certainly hasn't been very helpful to them this year. Before the season even started, defensemen Bryce Salvador was placed on Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) with his concussion suffered in the preseason. The move was critical for the Devils, getting them roughly $40,000 under the cap of 59.4M.
Starting of the season with 20 skaters on the roster, they were already down from the normal 23 -- three skaters would normally be scratched each game. Most teams carry 7 defensemen and 14 forwards; allowing players some time off for minor injury or keep them charged up for the long haul of an 82 game season. The Devils literally could not afford that luxury.
To make matters worse, Pierre Luc - Letrenu Leblond got suspended for instigating a fight in the last five minutes of a game against the Capitals. Anton Volchenkov blocked a shot that broke his nose and Brian Rolston went down with a groin injury. This all added up to the Devils dressing 15 skaters in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins this Monday. Missing an entire line the Devils lost 3-1.
Brian Rolston's groin injury is requiring surgery and he will miss 4-6 weeks. However, moving Rolston on to the LTIR allows the Devils to replace his $5.06M cap hit for the time being while he is out. This is not a long term solution in the slightest, moves must be made when Salvador and Rolston return.
With the space acquired with Rolston on LTIR and Leblond being waived, the Devils called up three players and signed a player they invited to training.
Adam Mair made the team with a solid effort in the preseason, great depth for the fourth line. He was signed directly after Leblond was waived; salaries nearly identical.
Jacob Josefson is a 19 year old center from Sweden who impressed in training camp with his two way game. Josefson gives the Devils great depth at center. Travis Zajac and Jason Arnott are clearly the number one and two. Dainius Zubrus has played center in the past, but it appears calling up Josefson will allow him to play on the wing, where his fore-checking abilities will be a strength. Adam Mair and Rod Pelley both have played fourth line center roles in their past too. Having too many people to take face offs is certainly a pretty good problem to have.
Tim Sestito was also called up. In the past, the speedy little utility man has played all three positions on the fourth line. The signing of Mair and call up of Sestito gives the Devils a quality fourth line that may be able to do a little more than just eat a few minutes.
Last but not least, defensemen Matt Corrente was called up. In the last blog entry Corrente was one of the defensemen talked about getting a look. Corrente did not make the team, but that may be because of salary constraints. He certainly has a chance to prove himself worthy of sticking around.