The roster for the opening of the 2019-20 season has been announced.
To get down to the NHL-required 23-man roster, the Devils put Matt Tennyson on waivers and, after he cleared, sent him to Binghamton of the American Hockey League. In addition, Ty Smith was sent back to the Spokane Chiefs, his junior team. Smith had a kind of disappointing camp this year after tearing it up last year and almost making the team in 2018-19.
Some of the thought on Smith was that he was more nervous this year, being expected to make the team, than last year when he was kind of playing with house money. That led to some mistakes brought on by his own doing. Hopefully next year he relaxes and makes the team out of camp.
It takes defenseman a longer time to develop at the NHL level and hopefully he just settles in and has a good year in the Western Hockey League and refocuses on making the Devils next season.
As for the roster itself, the goalies are Mackenzie Blackwood and Cory Schneider (who had a great preseason and looks to be back to his old self). The d-men are: Will Butcher, Connor Carrick, Andy Greene, Mirco Mueller, Damon Severson, PK Subban and Sami Vatanen. The forwards include: Jesper Boqvist (meaning he will not be sent back to Sweden and the SHL for the year), Jesper Bratt, Blake Coleman, Nikita Gusev, Taylor Hall, John Hayden, Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Kyle Palmieri, Kevin Rooney, Wayne Simmonds, Miles Wood, Pavel Zacha and Travis Zajac.
No real surprises there aside from maybe Rooney. This is the roster that the Devils will take into the season opener against the Winnipeg Jets on October 4 at Prudential Center.
In other news, former Devil Lee Stempniak has announced his retirement after 13 seasons in the NHL. He played in 911 games over those 13 seasons, 63 of them for the Devils after signing as a free agent prior to the 2015-16 season.
The now-36-year-old right wing scored 16 of his total 203 goals with the Devils, and also recorded 25 assists with New Jersey for 41 points. His career total sees him with 469 NHL points.
He was the ultimate journeyman, playing for the Blues (who drafted him 148th overall in the fifth round of the 2003 Draft), Maple Leafs, Phoenix Coyotes, Flames, Penguins, Rangers, Jets, Bruins and Hurricanes in addition to the Devils.
The Devils dealt him at the 2016 trade deadline to the Bruins, where he netted them a fourth round pick in 2016 (Evan Cormier) and a second round pick in 2017 (the pick that I believe was Jesper Boqvist, if I’m reading Hockey-Reference.com right).
So congratulations to Lee Stempniak on a wonderful career and good luck to him in his post hockey doings.
We will see you here again on Friday for Devils-Jets to open the season!