Though it’s been a bit overshadowed with the departure of big names like Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson, as well as the signing of Jaromir Jagr, one of the more significant moves for the New Jersey Devils this summer was their signing of forward Ryane Clowe.
The Devils signed Clowe to a questionable contract, with a clear overpayment being made. The deal Clowe signed with New Jersey was a five-year contract with a cap hit of $4.85 million per year. What they were trying to accomplish is clear, but can Clowe rebound from an awful 2013?
The fact that he was able to get such a lucrative deal after the poor season that he had tells you that he’s the clear replacement for David Clarkson. He’s the guy that the Devils want to put in their top six and contribute on offense, while also adding a bruising presence to their offensive lines.
Clowe is coming off of what was easily the worst season of his career. He posted just 19 points total on the year, as he went the first 28 games of the year without finding the back of the net a single time. He also had some pretty serious health issues, specifically related to concussions. Which hung a huge question mark over him in free agency.
The Devils are obviously hoping to get the pre-2013 version of Clowe. The guy who’s good for 150 or so hits, can play down around in front of the net, and a guy that can put in around 20 goals. If he can do that, the Devils easily found their Clarkson replacement. But keep an eye on those health issues as the season wears on.
That will obviously greatly impact what he’s able to produce. And will easily help indicate whether or not that this signing was as big a mistake as some think it is. If he’s healthy, it’ll work out favorably for the Devils, even with the overpayment. If not, his 2013 could become his 2013-14.