BUFFALO, N.Y. – The New Jersey Devils won’t have any issues clearing the $54 million salary cap floor for next season. With Ryan Clowe still on the books for two more seasons and one more year of Marc Savard’s contract after they acquired his cap hit from the Florida Panthers this week, Ray Shero can focus on trying to sign and re-sign players to reasonable deals.
One of those players is Kyle Palmieri, a restricted free agent who led the team in scoring this past season with 30 goals and 57 points. The 25-year-old forward has earned a significant raise from his $1.6 million salary in 2015-16 and Shero said talks with his agent are moving along smoothly.
“It’s going to work out one way or the other,” Shero said at the conclusion of the 2016 NHL Draft. “I think he’s a real good fit for us. We’re a really good fit for him. It’s just a matter of finding that right term.”
There are options, however, for Palmieri. He could go to arbitration or the two sides could settle on a bridge deal and work on hammering out something long-term should it come to that.
“He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do. He’s at the right age, so hopefully we can get something done in the next little while,” said Shero.
Another name on Shero’s plate is alternate captain Patrik Elias, who is without a contract and underwent knee surgery in April. The 40-year-old forward was limited to just 16 games last season. He’s currently back home in the Czech Republic and both sides are in a wait and see mode with his health.
“We’ve never committed one way or another. Nor has he, but we’re just going to see,” Shero said.
At this point, it’s an all or nothing situation for Shero. The GM doesn’t see Elias coming back to play for a team other than the Devils; so for now both sides will wait until later this off-season before making a decision on the veteran’s future.
“He’d love to try to play again, but he doesn’t know yet and we don’t know yet, so we’ll see where that takes both of us,” Shero said. “Hopefully he can be healthy and try to make a go of it, but we don’t know and he doesn’t know, so we both agreed to just kind of see where it goes for him in the summertime and see how he feels maybe in August or September.”
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