"When time is on your side, you use it" - Lou Lamoriello
This is a pretty well known Lou-ism, one which most recently surfaced just two days ago in reference to the Devils impending need to set their 23 man roster. Here we are, two days later, staring straight in the face of that can that Lou artfully punted further along down the road on Monday afternoon. All signs point to Patrik Elias in the Devils opening night lineup. When Patty is ready to go, someone makes way for Patty. We've all discussed the different options that we think will - or would like to see happen. Well, it's go time, my friends. Someone will vanish off the current 23 man roster when Elias is activated, and there are a few different guests at this Devils' party who could find themselves without a seat when the music stops. I'd like to present eight different scenarios of differing possibility and probability that I could see happening in the next 24 hours. After a brief description of each scenario, I'd like everyone to vote on one of the
nine eight options that they see most likely to happen.
Waive Goodbye to New Jersey, Say Hello to Albany
This could be the subject line of a somewhat callous demotion email sent to any of a few Devils players today. If the Devils choose to make a subtraction via waivers, today is the last day to do so in time for Thursday's opener. I can count four players (really three) that might have the above message in their inbox today.
Teddy would be a strong candidate for a demotion to Albany, if not for his injury and non-roster exempt status. I don't expect this status to change anytime in the next few days. Why would it? As snwbdgislife pointed out in the comments, he's not on the roster right now, so moving him or changing his status would do nothing towards helping the problem at hand. As long as the Devils have no plans to use him in their lineup, they really have no urgency here. With young Teddy, time is still on Lou's side. He could be sent down eventually, although Lou has stated he's not comfortable with paying an NHL salary to a player in Albany. We'll see if there's a need to hold him to that eventually. Lou is usually predictably cryptic; in this case he was unusually direct with his answer, for whatever that's worth. Either way, the likelihood of Tedenby being placed on waivers right now ranges anywhere from very low to non-existent.
Rather than lowering our barricades, the diminutive Gionta just skated his way right under them and straight into our hearts with his 2012 playoff run. While some love the fact that he plays with the energy of a middle schooler on a pixie stick bender, others (myself included) bemoan the sturdy anchorship he seems to provide for his port and starboard associates on the wings. Do I think Stephen Gionta will pass through waivers if exposed? Probably. Especially with most rosters already set. There's always a chance another team could claim him if they feel he could help round out their 4th line or fill their extra roster spot, but I doubt it. So, combine a strong likelihood of him clearing waivers, with a strong possibility that he will literally never be any better than he already is, or was. I would just hate to lose a younger player with upside as a result of some need to keep a moderately successful 4th line intact. That being said, there is one factor working against a Gionta demotion. Just ask yourself the question: What does Pete DeBoer love? Why, poetry, scotch, and, of course his friends CBGB here. Still, there is the simple fact that Gionta is one of only two Devils left on the roster that are fringe players on two-way contracts (Alex Urbom). Something something NHL salary no Albany something.
Olesz is a new guy on the scene this season, and he also didn't play any games in the NHL last season. He does have that whole one-way contract thing going for him, and the fact that he generally looked pretty good in the pre-season. Do I think he would pass through waivers? Maybe, since he's making a comeback of sorts. I know I'd be a lot more likely to grab up Olesz, if available, then Gionta, if I needed a fourth liner. I wouldn't demote him at this point. I think he could be a handy 4th liner or extra forward to have at the NHL level.
Ok, in a lot of ways, waiving Urbom makes the most sense. In one way, it doesn't. The sensibility of it is that he's not really an NHLer yet, and its not that likely that another club is going to guarantee an NHL roster position to a guy that has only seen spot duty in the big leagues up to this point. Especially, this late in the game, with other team's rosters all set. There's always the chance another team could have their eyes on Urbom, knowing the situation the Devils are in. He is, a prospect of sorts, and he's a big kid (6'5" 205 lbs). Do the Devils want to risk losing a player they have developed for years, right when he is about to make it to the top level? I wouldn't want that. I would rather expose Stephen Gionta to waivers than risk losing a "prospect" like Urbom, even though he would probably clear. He does have a two-way deal. That's working against him. That and the fact that he would probably clear. I think Urbom is the most likely player to be waived, if the Devils go that route. It's really only one of two routes they can travel this morning, the other, being the trade route.
"I come bringing spices from the new world, and other bountiful treasures"
The trade route can be rather lucrative. For our purposes, the spices and treasures in question would be players and draft picks. I can think of four players that could be traded in the next 24 hours, and two of the four on that list somewhat horrify me.
Noooooooooo. Not him. As Fayne skates on the hypothetical "fourth pairing we are not supposed to read anything into", the likelihood of his days in New Jersey being numbered grows. Maybe the coaches think Alex Urbom is ready to do what Mark Fayne does (he's not). Maybe Fayne is just easily one of our most movable assets, due to many factors I addressed here. Fayne could probably fetch a decent return, maybe a second and a fourth. It could happen. I don't like it, but it could happen.
Hmmm. This is an interesting one, to my knowledge, first proposed by Triumph44 in a previous thread I am too lazy to dig up now. Ryan Carter has value. He is inexpensive, can put up some points and not be terrible in possession, and kill penalties. He could be a very attractive add to a team pushing up on the cap that wants to improve their depth. Would I be sorry to see him go? Yes. Carts has exceeded all expectations I had for him (none. I literally had zero expectations for him). The potential bounty for a Ryan Carter could probably be around a 4th round draft pick. I don't see the Devils trading Carter, but from an organizational perspective, why not? He has value, and the things he does are replaceable. Also, this is probably the most value he has ever, or will ever have.
The consummate 7th defenseman. Seriously, if there was an entry in some sort of hockey encyclopedia for "7th defenseman" it should have a picture of Peter Harrold. He plays for close to the league minimum salary, doesn't play or see the ice at all for literally weeks at a time, and then steps in at a moment's notice and does a serviceable job on the fly. You really couldn't ask for more from that particular roster spot. As such, Harrold has value. I could see him fetching a return in a trade of around a 5th round pick. Why would the Devils do this? If they feel Alex Urbom is ready to take the next step, why not make him the seventh defenseman. Sure, he won't play all that often, but he will get his first taste of the NHL and can learn on the fly. Does Urbom really need any more time in Albany playing against AHL players? Could that help him continue to develop? I'm really not sure. You could probably make a case either way.
This scenario is otherwise known as "Jerry loses his second Devils sweater of the off-season". Selfish jersey relevancies aside, I really think Josefson is a talented young player on the verge of success at the NHL level. He's shown flashes of it, we all know his story. He's still only 22 years old, and should continue to get stronger and better. Josefson would certainly be claimed on waivers, so I am assuming the Devils know this and would not even consider that route (same with Harrold btw). I think Jacob could probably return a 4th or 5th round pick in a trade situation. I don't think he is the right asset to move, since he should continue to improve and his value should only grow in the upcoming several years. The Devils would really be selling low, since he has a spotty track record and tons of potential.
Time to hitch your cart to a horse
As in most good horse races, there are 8 horses in this race. I actually have no idea if that is true, but I thought it sounded good. I could see any of four players waived, and any of four players traded. Something has to happen today. That's where we are at with our 2013 Devils. There are dark horses, and charley horse type injuries, and since this dead horse seems sufficiently beaten for the time being (and moreso because I am totally out of horse based idioms), I digress.
Cast your vote in the poll. My vote? The Devils place Urbom on waivers. Feel free to choose the selection of 'other' if you'd like to present another reasonable option in the comments section below. By reasonable, I mean nothing along the lines of "waive Salvador and trade Volchenkov while recalling Merrill to partner with Larsson!". In fact, nothing involving Salvador or Volchenkov at all. Ain't happenin. Anything else, please chime in with your suggestions, votes, comments, explanations, apologies, condolences, retractions, corrections, topical humor, and horse based idioms.