A lot has happened since the dawn of free agency last weekend. Time for catch up:
-While I was on 4th of July vacation…yeah we know what happened. My phone nearly was tossed into the water when I read that news. But just remember, there is a little thing called karma that I am a firm believer in…and in my opinion, this contract will come back to haunt our former captain when towards the middle of the deal he’s no closer than he was this postseason to touching that Cup.
-But, it wasn’t all bad news. Both Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg locked up the New Jersey goalie spots for the next two seasons. However, it does create an interesting situation down on the farm. Essentially you have four goalies for two spots in Albany and 1 or maybe 2 spots in the ECHL depending on what the Devils do for an affiliation next season (they had an agreement with Kalamazoo, but still sent a few players to Trenton). It may look like Jeff Frazee and Keith Kinkaid have their positions here back. However, you have prospect Scott Wedgewood about to start his first pro season, and also Maxime Clermont waiting in the wings. I’m curious to see how this straightens out come training camp.
-While the likes of Wilkes-Barre and Hershey are starting to load up, New Jersey helped out the farm a little bit by re-signing Jay Leach and Tim Sestito to 1 year deals. With Stephen Gionta looking like he’s graduated to the big club, could Leach step up as the next Albany captain? Who better than a veteran player who just happens to be from the Capital Region? Still early yet, but we’ll see. As for Sestito…everyone in Jersey get their Red Bull ready.
-Add two more players to the Moving On category: Matt Taormina is off to Tampa Bay (or, more likely, Syracuse) after signing a 1 year contract on Friday, and Vladimir Zharkov is going home to Russia, signing with CSKA Moskva for the next 2 seasons. As a restricted free agent, New Jersey retains his NHL rights.