Devils Make Free Agency Splash By Signing Cammalleri and Havlat
On day one of the NHL free agency period, the New Jersey Devils went out and made two very good moves designed to increase their low goal scoring numbers from last season.
Mike Cammalleri and Martin Havlat are the newest members of the Devils. Cammalleri signed a five-year, $25 million contract, and Havlat signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
In Cammalleri, age 32, the Devils are getting a solid consistent goal scoring threat. He’s scored 26 goals three times, 34 goals in the 2006-07 season, and 39 goals in 2008-09. He is also an excellent distributor of the puck, racking up more than 20 assists six times —he had over 40 twice. Also, last year Cammalleri scored two shootout goals on six attempts, which is likely why the Devils broke the bank for this elite goal scorer. On the down side, Cammalleri hasn’t ever played a full season in the NHL, and hasn’t made it past 67 games since 2008-09, when he played 81. Injuries are a concern, but when you’re trying to win, you need to takes some risks and spend some money. Cammalleri is a player who, when healthy, is as dangerous as they come in the NHL.
Havlat, age 33, has also often been bitten by the injury bug throughout his NHL tenure. Havlat played 78 games in 2010-11, but hasn’t eclipsed 48 games since. If he remains injury prone this season, his signing won’t be a major loss for the Devils —they only have him inked for one year at $1.5 million, making it a low-risk, high-reward move. During Havlat’s best seasons he’s been an excellent passer of the puck, garnering over 30 assists six times and over 20 goals six times as well. Even in an injury-laden season for San Jose last year, Havlat scored 12 goals and 10 assists in 48 games, making him good for almost a point every other game.
Both of these signings show the Devils are intent on scoring more goals next season in an effort to either avoid the shootout or to score in it. If both Cammalleri and Havlat stay healthy, they will bring a huge boost to a Devils team who lacked a sufficient and consistent offense last year. The moves add depth to the team as well. Now the majority of the scoring responsibility won’t just be on Jaromir Jagr, Patrick Elias, and Adam Henrique, with Havlat and Cammalleri added to the mix.