And there is one major restricted free agent left for the New Jersey Devils to re-sign. Earlier today, Tom Gulitti confirmed at Fire & Ice that Jacob Josefson has agreed to a new deal through his agent. The deal itself is short and inexpensive: a one year, one-way deal worth $725,000. Gulitti noted that Josefson's qualifying offer would have been for more money - $850,000 - but the player took less for more security. The one-way deal guarantees he'll get $725,000 regardless of whether he's in New Jersey or Albany.
The deal also leaves New Jersey with plenty of cap space. Not that I thought Josefson would command a lot of money anyway. The team is left with $9,879,166 of space available as of this writing according to CapGeek. That's plenty of space left for the team to re-sign Adam Henrique, signing another player such as a certain Swiss winger for example, and still have room left over for call-ups and trades through the season. Since it's only a one-season contract, the Devils will still get first crack at keeping Josefson beyond 2014 as he's a restricted free agent. There's little to complain about from a financial standpoint.
If the terms sound familiar, then it's because they are. It's the exact same contract given to Andrei Loktionov. I praised that signing back in June because it gives him a chance to really make strides at the NHL level and get rewarded for it next summer. The same can be said for Josefson. As I wrote earlier this week, Josefson hasn't had a smooth start to his NHL career. He's only played in 91 games over three seasons, missing plenty of time due to injury. The coaches have shown some confidence by continuing to play him when active, but he was betrayed by bad luck in 2013 and fell out of favor for part of the season. On top of that, he has yet to show he could be a very productive player on offense; although he's shown that he could be a defensive minded player. He can contribute, but a deal like this tells me the onus is on Josefson to really put in a strong effort in 2013-14. That means he needs to play regularly and play well. I think he can play well; he has shown he can contribute outside of scoring, which is quite good for a 22-year old forward. But is that enough, and perhaps just as importantly, can he play long enough? I mean, he has yet to play even half of a NHL season yet. For his sake alone, I hope he's not so unfortunate that he gets hurt in some way. If he can stay active and not have a crushingly-bad streak like last season, I think he can really help the team. Then, I would expect that he'd get a nice raise next summer. But that doesn't happen with only 20-30 games played.
For the time being, here's what is certain. Josefson will be paid $725,000 next season, he will compete for a spot in training camp (I think he's got a good chance to be on the New Jersey roster in October), and he will be up for a new contract a year from now. How he performs will definitely affect that last certainty. What do you think of Josefson's new contract? What are your expectations knowing how much he'll make in 2013-14? Does he have to have a big season? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Josefson and his new contract in the comments. Thank you for reading.