The New Jersey Devils were once a team rich in Stanley Cup pedigree. Now just two players remain from the organizations last Stanley Cup victory in 2003. Once Defenseman Colin White, 33, cleared waivers Tuesday he left behind Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias as the only players on the team to have won a Cup.
White and right wing Trent Hunter passed the waiver deadline without being claimed by another team. Then with little fanfare, New Jersey bought out the remainder of their contracts, making both players unrestricted free agents.
During his 11 seasons in New Jersey, White established himself as physical, defensive warrior, often sacrificing himself to protect his teammates. The native of Nova Scotia was a member of New Jersey’s last two Stanley Cup winning teams and often drew comparisons to Devils legend Ken Daneyko. Lamoriello called White a “true Devil,” and he was in every sense of the meaning.
Unfortunately, an eye injury sustained in training camp during the 2007-08 season coupled with the departure of long time defensive partner Scott Niedermayer forced White to alter his game. He was never the same player as was early on in his career. The Devils surplus of young talent on the blue-line left The Devils no other choice. They team no longer had a spot for the aging veteran.
For those not familiar with the buyout process it goes like this, The team will pay two-thirds the remaining salary on the contract spread over twice the remaining years on the deal. Did I lose you?
White had one year left on his contract at $3 million. The buyout cap hit for White is $1 million for each of the next two seasons. Hunter, 31, whom the Devils acquired last week in the Brian Rolston deal had two years at $2 million per season. The buyout cap hit for Hunter is $666,667 for each of the next four seasons. In layman’s terms New Jersey just saved themselves over $3 million in cap space.
It appears that Lamoriello’s make-over of the Devils is almost complete. But, one has to wonder if Lamoriello has another ace up his sleeve. Many are speculating that Lou will use the additional cap space to add another piece in order to make one more run at a Cup before Brodeur retires.
So what’s next Lou? Inquiring minds want to know!
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