Free agency frenzy took place on July 1, a seemingly long time ago now that it's September 3rd. The summer may be over and so the Devils head into training camp with many changes in their roster. Going into training camp, the Devils have their defense, their goaltending, and their core still intact. I think the biggest loss won't be Brian Gionta, but John Madden as the Devils are now quite thin at center and you may have to pencil in the relatively-inexperienced Rod Pelley to fill in a big, big hole on the third line.
Now, the offseason isn't technically over yet, as the regular season starts in October. The Devils can still sign and trade players at any point in 2009. Moves can still be made. The roster is definitely not set and with the number of players who are still free agents (e.g. Manny Malhotra) as well as teams who are near or over the salary cap (e.g. Vancouver), I can imagine that there will plenty of action should Lou want to get involved. With a little over $5 million in cap space available to New Jersey, they have the room to sign another player or take on salary in a trade.
Overall, when looking back at the posts I made after a signing, I made a point of it to looking back at the polls asking for your reaction to the signing as well as comments. While the Devils lost 8 players to free agency and 1 to retirement, followed by the lack of action on July 1, your comments and the poll results indicated a positive reaction to most of the deals. I think this largely because the Devils were able to re-sign Johnny Oduya and Travis Zajac, two players that I think were important to retain. In my opinion, the only signing that garnered the most negative reaction was Ilkka Pikkarainen and that may be more confusion than anything else as well as frustration at the lack of other activity on July 1 by New Jersey.
So that being said, I would like to know your opinion about how the Devils did this past summer. Time has past and so the initial "gut reaction" won't be a factor. The poll is looking for your overall feeling; hence, it is an arbitrary rating. Given the reaction to the individual signings at the time, I expect it to be positive - but, as always, I'm willing to be proven wrong. If you have a more specific comment - praise, complaints, criticism - please bring it up in the comments and let's discuss the matter. After the jump is a quick summary of the Devils' current cap situation, all the moves the Devils made as well as who's released.
Available Cap Space: $5,179,167
Players Out: John Madden (UFA -> Chicago); Brian Gionta (UFA -> Montreal); Mike Rupp (UFA -> Pittsburgh); Niclas Havelid (UFA -> Linkoping HC in Sweden); Scott Clemmensen (UFA -> Florida); Barry Tallackson (UFA -> St. Louis); Kevin Weekes (UFA); Petr Vrana (RFA -> Vitkovice in Czech Rep.); Bobby Holik (Retired)
Players Re-Signed (Links to ILWT Post about Signing unless otherwise specified):
Ilkka Pikkarainen (Reaction from Comments: Confused/Underwhelmed) - Salary per CapGeek: $500,000 for 1 year.
Cory Murphy: Two-way deal, $500,000 for 1 year per CapGeek (I got the salary wrong in the initial post) - Poll Results: 39% like deal, 32% on the fence, 19% love it, 5% don't like it, 2% hate it)
New Coaches: Jacques Lemaire and Mario Tremblay (assistant); John MacLean named head coach of Lowell