Devils General Manager Ray Shero and company have been busy of late wrapping up some contracts for the team’s restricted free agents: defensemen Seth Helgeson and Adam Larsson and forward Stefan Matteau.
Helgeson signed to a two-year contract. The contract is a two-way deal in 2015-16 worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $75,000 in the AHL and a one-way deal in 2016-17 worth $600,000 that season. This information comes from the Devils press release.
The 24-year-old defenseman spent most of last year split between New Jersey and Albany. With the A-Devils, he had 2 goals, 10 assists for 12 poitns and 58 penalty minutes over 49 games. With the NHL Devils, he had 3 goals, 19 assists for 22 points and 160 penalty minutes over 22 games. The 6 foot 4 inch, 215-pound blueliner from Faribault, Minnesota played four seasons at the University of Minnesota and was a member of the WCHA’s All-Academic Team in 2012 and 2013. The Golden Gophers went to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012 with him on the squad. He was the Devils’ fourth pick (114th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft. (Again, all info comes from the Devils website).
Matteau was re-signed to a two-year contract worth $612,500 a year. The 21-year-old, who was the Devils’ first pick (29th overall) in the 2012 Entry Draft, also split last year between the A-Devils and New Jersey. His AHL numbers show 12 goals, 15 assists for 27 points and 40 penalty minutes (tied for sixth in Albany). In Jersey, he registered one goal and four penalty minutes in seven NHL matches. The 6-foot 2-inch 220 pound, Chicago-born forward made his debut with the big club in 2013 for a handful of games prior to returning to the QMJHL. His NHL totals are 25 goals, 28 assists for 53 points over 24 games. He represented Team USA at the World Junior Championships in 2014 and was named to last year’s World Championships team, but missed the tournament due to an injury.
In terms of NHL experience, none of the players have more than Adam Larsson, who was signed to a six-year $25 million contract (worth about $4,166,667 a year) on Saturday, July 25. This avoids arbitration for the restricted free agent.
The 22-year-old native of Skelleftea, Sweden was picked fourth overall in the 2011 Entry Draft by the Devils and led all Devils defensemen last season with 21 assists and 24 points in 65 games. All three of those categories were also career bests for Larsson. Larsson spent 2012-13 and 2013-14 between New Jersey and Albany after spending all of 2011-12 with the NHL club. He had two goals, 18 points in 65 games for that team, which went to the Stanley Cup Finals but lost in six to the Kings.
GM Shero told Northjersey.com that the team has “only scratched the surface of the kind of player he’s going to be.” He also said that Larsson “played a lot of ice time on the (penalty kill) and 5-on-5. He hasn’t had the chance to play a lot on the power play, yet.”
Of course, much of his development has been attributed to the coaching of Scott Stevens, who is not with the team anymore. Hopefully, Larsson’s development can continue along and he can reach the levels that the team knows he can.
With these players locked up, the Devils look to move towards training camp knowing who they have under contract and can begin the process of preparing for the upcoming year.
All three are exceptional players and will look to make an impact for the Devils in 2015-16.