Earlier today, the Devils have re-signed Defenseman Mark Fraser to a 1-year, one way deal today, worth $500 000 dollars. As I mentioned in the fanshot announcing this news, Fraser will recieve the same amount of money he made last year, and he will not go to arbitration, which is good. While Fraser wasn't the most impressive player out there, if he had went to arbitration, he could've made abit more than the $500 000 that he's going to make in the upcoming season. With Cap space at a premium (The Devils are currently over the cap if you count the Kovalchuk contract), re-signing Fraser for cheap means that Lou made a good move here as the cap conundrum will be much easier to sort out for the Devils.
The Devils will likely get their value out of Fraser with this deal. Fraser will likely reprise his role as a physical, bottom pairing defenseman. He's going to bring toughness and stability to the defensive group, as well as a bit of depth to the team's defense. He will also get a much bigger opportunity to prove himself, as last season he started the season on the Injured reserve, which didn't bode well for him. Fraser receiving a one way contract means that he's going to be on the roster next season, but it doesn't guarantee that Fraser will be playing every 82 games this season. Remember, there will be some competition in the 6/7 Defenseman spots with Salmela, Eckford, Corrente and Urbom trying to crack the NHL team, and if one of those guys outplays Fraser, or the quality of Fraser's play declines, he could be sitting in the press box. But if Fraser performs this season, the Devils will have a good defenseman on their team, and at a bargain too.
The deal is also financially sound: If the Kovalchuk deal is deemed acceptable, then the Devils will be $2.301 million dollars over the cap, which won't really complicate matters that much. If Salvador was waived and sent to the Minors, the Devils would have about $599 000 in cap space with exactly 20 players signed (and Anssi Salmela on Injured reserve for the start of the season), meaning the Devils can sign 1 depth forward/defenseman to a contract for at least league minimum and still be over the cap. The low cap hit on Fraser's deal means that the Devils are in no real pressure to move a contract, and it makes life easier for Lou and Co. as they won't have to rush to dump players with a higher salary like Danius Zubrus or Brian Rolston. While on the flip side, if Kovalchuk's deal is rejected and a cap punishment is given to the team, the team won't be pushed up against the wall to move high salary contracts as well.
My expectations for Fraser aren't very high for him. All he needs to do is be a reliable 3rd pairing defenseman who isn't going to be a problem for the team when he's on the ice. If his play has improved and he plays well this season, the Devils will have easily secured a bargain for this season. If he doesn't play well, it's not like he's going to be a problem for the team, as he's making league minimum and he's a restricted free agent at the end of the season. As for you guys, what are your thoughts on the re-signing of Fraser?