Chere: Travis Zajac Qualified, Andy Greene Not Qualified, and Ben Walter Signed

On the eve of this summer's free agency period beginning, Chere has a final bit of news regarding the New Jersey Devils up this evening.

I would like to remind you that Lou told Gulitti he planned to qualify Travis Zajac and Andy Greene on Saturday.  However, the situation has changed apparently.  Chere reports - and as you can see in the title - that only Travis Zajac was actually qualified.  Defenseman Andy Greene was not, namely to avoid a permanent raise according to Lou:

However, it is very possible that Greene will be signed Wednesday before he even tests the market. The Devils would have had to give the young blue liner a 10 percent qualifying raise to $660,000, but chose to work out a deal that could save precious cap space.

"We didn't qualify Andy Greene but we will be sitting down tomorrow and trying to work out a contract," general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "It's not something we haven't done before."

Greene is a depth defenseman. Should someone from Lowell - Matthew Corrente - push for a spot in New Jersey, he could very well end up a healthy scratch.  The same will likely happen if the Devils go out and sign an unrestricted free agent defenseman.  So Greene isn't going to get a lot of money as he may not even have a spot on the team next season. That said, I find Lou's reasoning a bit odd - as this is saving a whopping $60,000, which is really insignificant with respect to the salary cap.  It's even odder when you consider that Lou says that they'll be working out a contract on Wednesday anyway.  Why wait?  I don't know.

Ben Walton Walter, the player the Devils traded Tony Romano for, figures to be a player for Lowell.  In Chere's report, Lou straight up said that he's been signed for depth in the minor leagues.  

Gulitti has the same news, but he also adds that Petr Vrana and Patrick Davis have been tendered qualifying offers to keep them in the Devils organization.  Vrana's not going to sign as he'll be playing in the Czech Republic next season, he only needed to be qualified.  Davis probably will - and remain in Lowell.

In my opinion, I would expect deals to be announced with Greene and Zajac by noon tomorrow, when restricted free agents can actually be signed.   As far as who else the Devils may be offering, your guess is as good as mine.  I have my big free agent preview here, Falconer has a list of unqualified RFAs who will be UFAs tomorrow, and Mirtle has a big list of every team's respective previews and a short blurb on them.  Lastly, feel free to head on to The Copper & Blue or Silver Sens and marvel at the Dany Heatley trade - should Heatley actually decide to waive his no-trade clause for it, of course. (Update: Heatley said no according to TSN)

http://cdn1.sbnation.com/images/hub/nhl/freeagency-button.png

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