New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello had quite a long to-do list when the 2012-13 season ended early for the club.
Eight players from last year’s roster are set to become unrestricted free agents at noon on July 5, while another group is poised to become restricted free agents. Thus far, Russian center Andrei Loktionov and Swedish forward Mattias Tedenby have been re-signed.
Now Lamoriello can cross Jacob Josefson off, having made a qualifying offer to the 22-year-old Swedish center. As a restricted free agent, he could have become an unrestricted free agent when the annual player frenzy begins at noon on July 5 if he had not been qualified by July 2. The offer means that the Devils will now retain the negotiating rights to Josefson.
The youngster appeared in 22 games for the Devils during the lockout-shortened season before being returned to the team’s AHL affiliate in Albany, New York, scoring only one goal and adding two assists. Josefson, who was the team’s 2009 first-round draft pick, has had his share of troubles finding a regular spot in the lineup since signing with the club in May of 2010.
Injuries over the past couple of seasons have definitely hampered his development. Early in his first season with the Devils in 2010-11, Josefson tore a ligament in his thumb, which required surgery. Then in the fifth game of the 2011-12 campaign, he broke his right clavicle after going hard into the boards.
This injury sidelined him for quite a bit. He would broke his wrist late in that season in a game against the New York Islanders, making that year one he would like to forget.
While he remained injury free last season, Josefson struggled offensively with the big club. In 38 games in Albany, he scored 10 goals and notched 15 assists. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, players who are unrestricted and restricted free agents can begin talking to potential teams as early as noon on July 3. However, players cannot sign with another club until noon on July 5.
The Devils tend to keep any ongoing negotiation close to the vest, and Lamoriello has reiterated in an interview on Tom Gulitti’s Fire and Ice Blog that he would like to wrap up deals with all the unrestricted free agents he wants to keep before the deadline, but the ticking on the clock is becoming louder with each passing day.
There has also not been any official word that a qualifying offer has been made to Calder Trophy finalist Adam Henrique. As a restricted free agent, Henrique can fly the coop if an offer is not sent by noon on July 2.