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Cammalleri finds fit in New Jersey

Tuesday, 07.1.2014 / 4:02 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Cammalleri finds fit in New Jersey

Mike Cammalleri received a special phone call from an old friend not long after signing with the New Jersey Devils on the opening day of NHL free agency on Tuesday.

"Jarome Iginla called to congratulate me and said that it must be pretty cool knowing I'd get to play with Jaromir Jagr," Cammalleri told reporters on a conference call. "It's great knowing I'll have an opportunity to play with him; he's a legend in our game."

Whether the 32-year-old Cammalleri joins Jagr on the team's top line to start the season remains to be seen, but he sounded ready to give the Devils an offensive boost wherever the coaching staff sees fit.

"I feel my job is to be the best player and the best teammate I can be," Cammalleri said. "New Jersey was sixth in goals against last year (2.38) and the template is there on how to win and become a playoff team, how to compete for a Stanley Cup. I don't know the exact reason the success wasn't there last year, but my feeling is the system is in place for success."

Cammalleri, who has never reached the Stanley Cup Final in his 11 NHL seasons, hopes to be a part of that success and in the process help the team qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Cammalleri had 26 goals and 45 points in 63 games last season with the Calgary Flames. He also went 2-for-6 in the shootout, an area where the Devils can use some assistance after scoring just four times in 45 attempts en route to going 0-13 last season.

"I feel I'm a good fit for the club; the skill set I can bring and teammate I can be at this point might fit in nicely with the group," Cammalleri said.

In 669 career NHL regular-season games with the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens and Flames, the 5-foot-9, 190-pound native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, has 236 goals and 266 assists for 502 points.

Cammalleri wouldn't divulge how many teams expressed an interest in his services, but said the Devils were a team he was very interested in joining.

"I had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Lamoriello and spent some time with him this past weekend and just feel like it's a great opportunity to be a part of the Devils," he said. "I have a lot of respect for the way things are done in New Jersey and the track record they have. I believe in their method and the way they approach the game."

The Devils lost unrestricted free-agent defenseman Mark Fayne to the Edmonton Oilers on a reported four-year, $14 million contract. Lamoriello cleared approximately $4.25 million of cap space on Monday when he decided to buy out the final two years and $8.5 million on defenseman Anton Volchenkov's contract.

Cammalleri said he hasn't yet spoken to coach Peter DeBoer. He does know goaltender Cory Schneider from their time together on the NHLPA competition committee and noted that "the team has a Michigan guy back there on defense [Jon Merrill] so although I don't know him, there's a quick connection."

Cammalleri, a second-round pick (No. 49) of the Los Angeles Kings at the 2001 NHL Draft, played three seasons at the University of Michigan.

He doesn't believe he will feel more pressure to score goals and contribute than in any other NHL city.

"Whether the goals go in or not, so long as the team is winning hockey games, that's all that matters," Cammalleri said. "I like to score goals. If I score goals, the team has a chance to win games, so I'll be a happy man.

"I'll leave the lineup decisions up to the coaches and I'll play as hard as I can whatever position they put me in and whatever helps the team win."

Mike G. Morreale

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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