Adam Mair and Marcus Nilson were two of the players trying out for the Devils this preseason.
Mair, most recently with the Buffalo Sabres, has been proving his worth to the Devils. Nilson, on the other hand, was returned to Sweden on Wednesday morning.
Mair has been one of the most interesting players to follow this preseason. He is focused on winning, rather than making the team. In every interview, he has talked about how important it was to get a win.
Mair doesn’t want to talk about whether he’s going to make the team or not. He just wants to talk about how the Devils need to win and how important it is to get that win.
No one point out to Mair that it’s only the preseason, and wins don’t matter or count…like when it comes to a playoff chance. If he stays in this mindset, winning will be all that matters. For the team, that’s exactly the type of player that makes a Devil.
So far, in three contests, Mair has registered two goals. In Tuesday’s game, his goal came as a surprise as he deflected a shot from David Clarkson. Not even Brian Boucher (Philadelphia Flyers) could have seen that goal coming.
Last week, at Madison Square Garden, Rod Pelley was about to accept an invitation to fight from Rangers forward Brian Boyle, when Mair decided to take the invitation for Pelley.
Sticking up for his new teammate? That is definitely a quality that the Devils need since so often something will happen out on the ice and no one will stick up for the other player until captain Jamie Langenbrunner steps up and saves the day.
Yet, the captain has been the only one to step into the role as hero in the past. There are a few that have tried, but Jamie didn’t become Captain America just because he captained Team USA. With that role comes responsibility. Now, there is another willing to take on the hero role without being asked to do so, or told that was part of his job.
As of this moment, Mair is ranked fifth on the team in points. He sits behind Clarkson, Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac. That’s not too shabby for a guy that is following the number one line and Clarkson, who has put up a great battle for his own Devils spot this preseason.
Two of Mair’s three shots on goal went in the net. His shot percentage so far has been 66.7%. He has been doing a lot of good things out on the ice for the team which makes a person stop and notice just how good he is for the Devils.
The only issue at hand right now is the salary cap situation. The Devils are over the cap by almost $3 million. A trade is forthcoming and anybody could be at risk.
There are rumors of Colorado’s interest in Langenbrunner. There are also rumors that Bryce Salvador, Dainius Zubrus and David Clarkson are possible casualties. At this point, no one knows. Lou Lamoriello has until October 6th at 3:00 p.m. to work his magic.
“Any time you make any decisions about personnel, they’re painful,” Lamoriello told NewJerseyDevils.com. “Whatever decisions we have to make will have to be made in the best interests of the team and the organization.”
The trades must happen before the Devils can commit to a contract with Mair. At this rate, it looks like the Devils want to offer him a contract.
“Adam’s played very well,” coach John MacLean said after Tuesday night’s game. “We’re not down to the final yet. He’s a veteran that’s come to play each night. I was happy with his game again tonight. He’s got good energy, which is what you like to see. He’s making a spot for himself here if he keeps working. We’ll see how it ends up.”
The Latest Cuts
The New Jersey Devils announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 29 today. They assigned goaltender Jeff Frazee to Albany (AHL), and returned defenseman Eric Gelinas to Chicoutimi (QMJHL). Additionally, right wing Marcus Nilson has returned to Sweden.
“He did everything he possibly could,” Lamoriello said of Nilson’s cut to the Devils staff writer. “I think it was more what the young players showed in training camp in their improvement. Not only the Albany kids from last year, but also from some of the prospects: [Jacob] Josefson, [Mattias] Tedenby. I think that we have to go with the younger players if there’s any parallel whatsoever. [Eric] Gelinas is just going back to juniors.”
Of the Devils still remaining on the roster:
Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg.
Defensemen: Matthew Corrente, Rob Davison, Mark Fraser, Andy Greene, Anssi Salmela (injured), Bryce Salvador, Henrik Tallinder, Matt Taormina, Alexander Urbom, Anton Volchenkov, Colin White.
Forwards: Jason Arnott, David Clarkson, Patrik Elias, Jacob Josefson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jamie Langenbrunner, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Adam Mair, Nick Palmieri, Zach Parise, Rod Pelley, Brian Rolston, Mattias Tedenby, Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus.
[Prospects/Veterans on Tryout denoted in BOLD].
The prospects for defense have been putting up a great battle for the blueline. Taormina has been shining. He has had a goal and an assist for two points so far this preseason. Alexander Urbom has collected two assists, while Matthew Corrente has put up one assist. All three are doing a superb job in camp, but Taormina has been shining brighter in a lot of good ways.
The Clarkson/Zubrus Line
Of any line besides the first line of Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk that was worth noting happens to be the Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus line. Combined, the two have a goal and three assists. In Tuesday night’s contest, Clarkson assisted on two of the three goals.
Clarkson has even tried to bring back his classic move…the wraparound. He hasn’t used that move in a long time. Next up could be the toe drag.
Everything Clarkson and Zubrus are doing, they are doing together. Their line makes you stop and watch what they’re doing because the line is producing every which way they possibly can. There are fluke goals, interesting bounces, and superb work on the line together, including on the power play.
It would be difficult to make a trade between the two when their line has been very productive this preseason. They’re doing a lot of good things.
Salvador left during the first period in Tuesday’s preseason contest against the Flyers, after being involved in a bad collision. After the game, coach MacLean said that he was fine.
On Wednesday morning, Lamoriello reported that the blueliner will be going for tests to ascertain the extent of any damage he may have sustained in the collision.
The Devils have two remaining preseason games left: October 1st at Prudential Center, and October 2nd at Nassau Coliseum. Their home opener to kick-off the regular season is on Friday, October 8th at 7:00 p.m.