New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador played 15 games last season, missing the glut of the campaign with a bulging disc in his back. That’s after playing just 40 in the previous season.
Today, I am retiring from the National Hockey League. I achieved my goal of coming back so that my boys would be able to remember me as an NHL player, and now I am content to step away on my own terms. But I am not leaving hockey, and I am not leaving New Jersey or the Devils. This organization never stopped believing in me, even when I was spinning around in office chairs.
This place made me.
Read the entire piece to get a sense of just what Salvador was experience health-wise.
Salvador was another case of Lou Lamoriello handing out questionable contracts to veteran players in his final years in Jersey. There’s no doubt Salvador earned another deal with the Devils after his 2012 playoff performance; but did a 36-year-old defenseman really need a three-year deal, even if the hit was just $3.16 million annually?
He was named Devils captain after inking that deal, and in the wake of Zach Parise’s departure to the Minnesota Wild. It was be default: Patrik Elias had already done it, briefly (2006-07) and Ilya Kovalchuk wasn’t getting the ‘C’ from Lou or Peter DeBoer, despite playing like one throughout his tenure in Jersey.
How will Salvador be remembered? He was a tough, dependable veteran player for the St. Louis Blues and especially the Devils. Smart, although not exactly durable.
But that run in 2012 … hooboy. Martin Brodeur gets a lot of the credit for that Devils team winning the Eastern Conference, along with Kovalchuk and Adam Henrique’s heroics. But Salvador had 14 points (!) in 24 games, playing to a plus-9. He had nine points in 82 games during the regular season. In fact, those 14 points matched his second-highest point total in any season of his NHL career.
Fare thee well, Bryce Salvador.
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