It seems like Michael Cammalleri has been tied to the New Jersey Devils for years now. Every year at the trade deadline, the Calgary Flames were tied to the Devils as a perfect partner. Those trades never ended up happening, but he finally became a part of the franchise on Tuesday.
Cammalleri was signed to the team for five years and $25 million. He has had a career that consists of up and down seasons. Most of which have to do with injuries. Last season, however, he was very good. He scored 26 goals for a bottom-feeding Flames team. He scored eight game-winning goals. He had 14 points on the power play. He is a goal-scorer, which is the one spot where the Devils need the most work.
There are reasons for some to be weary. It was said before that he has had injury history before last season. He missed 19 games in 2013-14. He dealt with a concussion that caused him to miss 18 games. That will make some Devils fans gasp after what happened last season with the Ryane Clowe signing. He is also somewhat of a streaky scorer. Last season, he scored three goals from the beginning of December to when he got his concussion on Jan. 11. He then scored 11 goals in February. That could have to do with the fact that he was on a team that couldn’t score. He was literally one of two options.
When you look at this in a more positive light, he is exactly what this team needs to succeed. They ranked 28th in goals scored, despite having a surprise season from Jaromir Jagr and 25 goals from Adam Henrique. After the signings of Clowe, Damien Brunner and Michael Ryder last season, fans are a little quick to judge a free agent who is strictly a goal-scorer. This should not be that type of reaction. Cammalleri has already said about how he is excited to be a part of the organization. He seems like he generally wants to be here, instead of here just for the money (not that it didn’t help).
I think that this will be a mutually good situation for both parties. The Devils desperately needed a left wing to add to their top line. Jagr and Travis Zajac were rolling for a while, but they had a merry-go-round of linemates. At times, head coach Peter DeBoer tried Joe Whitney, Reid Boucher, Jacob Josefson and others were paired on the top line. Now, that question has been answered. Cammalleri will take the pressure off a 42-year-old Jagr when it comes to goal scoring. That will take pressure off the rest of the team, which seemed to be pressing at times.
As far as the shootout, Cammalleri scored two goals on six attempts. While that isn’t the kind of numbers that will make you want to scream from the rooftops that the Devils have fixed their shootout woes, it is still much better than what they have.
All in all, the Devils made a good move. Cammalleri isn’t making enough to ruin the cap. He has shown in the past that he can be a 30 goal scorer. While he hasn’t had a full season in a while, he hasn’t missed more than 20 games since he became a full-time NHL player. Expect around 25 goals, and a player who will play into the Devils’ system. That is exactly what Lou Lamoriello wanted out of free agency.