NEWS

Devils early winners in free agency frenzy

Thursday, 07.1.2010 / 8:20 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils early winners in free agency frenzy
Volchenkov lays out the Isles' John Tavares.
The Devils were among the busiest clubs Thursday and came away as one of the biggest winners during a frenzied first day of NHL free agency.

The defending Atlantic Division champions bolstered their blueline by signing offensive defenseman Henrik Tallinder from Buffalo and bruising shot blocker Anton Volchenkov from Ottawa. They shored up their goaltending with the addition of Johan Hedberg, who’s expected to share some of Martin Brodeur’s workload in 2010-11.

Though free agent blueliner Paul Martin departed for Pittsburgh, there was no putting a damper on what was clearly a very successful day for Devils’ President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello.
 
“The two [defensemen] that we got certainly bring two different types of dimension to our team,” Lamoriello said in a conference call. “Volchenkov, we certainly have played against enough, and he’s going to do something in our zone that we have not had recently, in fact since Scott Stevens left. He’s going to make it very difficult to play in that zone and he will complement the [Colin] Whites and the [Bryce] Salvadors.”

Volchenkov, 28, doesn’t shy away from the big hit. He collected four goals and 10 assists in 64 games last season with Ottawa while averaging 20:41 of ice time. A Russian Olympian in 2006 and 2010, the Moscow native recorded a career-best plus-37 rating in 2006-07. Volchenkov and the Senators went on to reach the Stanley Cup Final that year, losing to Anaheim in five games.

Tallinder seen as a capable mentor.
Tallinder, 31, tallied four goals and 16 assists with a plus-13 rating for the Sabres in 82 games last season, averaging 20:36 of ice time. A member of the 2010 Swedish Olympic team, Tallinder had a key role in mentoring 2010 Calder Trophy winner Tyler Myers in Buffalo. He’ll be counted on for a similar positive influence on the Devils’ crop of highly-regarded Swedish prospects.

“Tallinder, we’ve always liked him,” Lamoriello said. “We played against him enough in Buffalo. In particular, for me, he came to the forefront on the job he did playing alongside Myers and how he helped him along. There was another factor in that: we have three young Swedish players, one defenseman in [Alexander] Urbom and two young forwards in [Mattias] Tedenby and [Jacob] Josefson, who will be given every opportunity to make this team. We thought he would be just perfect in helping them develop and come along.”

Hedberg, 37, brings nine seasons of NHL experience. Last year, he posted a 21-16-10 mark with a 2.62 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and three shutouts in 47 games with Atlanta. He’s made 30 or more appearances in three straight campaigns, and figures to add a reliable No. 2 to New Jersey's goaltending stable.

That, Lamoriello, hopes, will give Brodeur more of an opportunity to rest. Though Brodeur led the League in wins (45) and shutouts (9), the 38-year-old future Hall of Famer also topped all goalies in games played (77).
 
Hedberg ready to step in.
“He’d love to play every day,” said the Devils’ GM. “We’d love to get him to slow down a little and take a practice off here and there, he won’t even do that. I think it’s necessary, but I don’t think it’s a disrespect to him. It’s just to keep him fresher. Hedberg understands his role, and he’s looking forward to it. He’s extremely excited, in fact, all three players, I was really pleased with the conversations I had with them today.”

Though July 1 opened the bidding on the League’s free agents, there’s still a long way to go before the puck drops in October. Time will tell whether the Devils will have more moves to make.

“We are where we’re at,” Lamoriello said. “I can’t say whether something will happen or won’t happen because you never know. But we still feel there’s some things that we’d like to do to get better whether it’s today, next week. We made a decision coming into this period that we were going to, first of all, set some priorities, and that is, get our defense better. I believe this defense is better than it was last year, right now, and we were trying to get an experienced backup goaltender to relieve some of the pressures of Marty. I’d like to think we did that.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 70 16 25 -3 41
M. Cammalleri 63 27 13 3 40
P. Elias 64 11 21 -16 32
S. Gomez 53 7 24 -8 31
S. Bernier 62 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 69 11 12 -4 23
A. Larsson 59 3 20 3 23
A. Greene 77 3 18 2 21
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 57 6 12 -3 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 28 9 .927 2.20
K. Kinkaid 5 5 3 .918 2.47