Bryce Salvador to Retire

Current Devils captain, defenseman Bryce Salvador has announced his retirement from the NHL today, September 2.

The 39-year old blueliner played five years with the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes and was drafted 138th overall in the 1994 Entry Draft by the Lightning. He would never play a game for Tampa, as he was signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Blues in December of 1996. He played three seasons in the AHL with the Worcester IceCats before making his National Hockey League debut on October 5, 2000 in St. Louis’ season opener, a 4-1 loss, at Phoenix.

On February 26, 2008, he was traded to the Devils for Cam Janssen. It was in New Jersey where Salvador would see an increased role and really flourish. His total stats with the Devils saw him score 8 goals, 39 assists for 47 points and 283 penalty minutes in 339 games, according to the press release on the Devils official site. (His NHL totals were 24 goals, 86 assists for 110 points, 696 penalty minutes in 786 games.)

Although he suffered injuries that limited play in some seasons (including last season which saw him on injured reserve for the bulk of the campaign), that was to be expected from a physical player who gave his all the way Salvador did. It is because of that physicality and leadership that the Devils gave him the “C” in 2013 after the free agent departure of Zach Parise. The 6-foot 3-inch, 215-pound defenseman was a powerhouse on the blue line. He was a key part of the Devils’ Eastern Conference Championship team in 2011-12 (his only career trip to the Stanley Cup Finals) and the leadership he showed that season was not lost on management, as they named him captain the next season. Current General Manager Ray Shero echoed this sentiment when he said in a press release that “Bryce Salvador is a first-class individual who exemplified leadership both on and off the ice.” He also said “(H)is selection as captain the past three seasons was most appropriate, as he was well-respected by his teammates.” Shero also wished Salvador and his family well and mentioned Bryce’s new role that he will be taking on.

Now that the Brandon, Manitoba native has retired from active NHL competition, what is his next step? He has indicated that he likes living in New Jersey and raising his family here and is loyal to the Devils. It is because of this that he will join the Devils front office “to focus on growing the sport in collaboration with the team’s rink partners throughout New Jersey.”

Next up for the Devils’ organization is finding a new captain. The main candidate would seem to be Andy Greene, although others like Adam Henrique or Travis Zajac could be possibilities. A dark horse candidate like Mike Cammalleri, who has not been with the team as long, but is a fine leader, could be a possibility as well.

But one thing is certain, when the next Devils captain is announced, he will have quite a role to fill, one that was handled by Bryce Salvador with a great deal of class and poise.

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