Santini Re-Signs

Steven Santini, one of two remaining Devils restricted free agents along with Miles Wood, has signed a new three-year contract with the team. The contract runs through 2020-21 with an average value of $1,416,666.67 with a $4.25 million total.

According to the Devils’ press release, all three years of the contract are one-way and he will make $1,100,000 in 2018-19, $1,500,000 in 2019-20 and $1,650,000 in 2020-21. It also notes that he will be a restricted free agent again following the 2020-21 season.

Santini played last season, his second full pro season, between the New Jersey and Binghamton clubs. At the NHL level, “he set career highs with two goals (tie), eight assists, ten points and 21 penalty minutes in 36 games” according to the release. It also noted that the Devils were 21-8-7 with Santini in the lineup. In addition to those numbers, he also led the team in hits per game with 3.14 and finished fourth on the team with 113 total hits. He was also second in the team in blocked shots per game with 2.03. He averaged over 20 minutes per game played. The press release notes that that last number would have placed him third among all skaters if he had played a full season.

Over his full NHL career, he has played in 75 games and has four goals and 13 assists for 20 points.

General Manager Ray Shero said in a statement, “(w)e are excited to lock up Steven, a young, developing defenseman, for the next three seasons. He provides size and a physical element that complements our existing defensive group moving forward.”

Santini, 23 years old and a native of Mahopac, New York, was the Devils’ first choice, 42nd overall, in the 2013 Entry Draft. He played three years at Boston College, totaling five goals and 30 assists for 35 points over 98 games. The 6’2″, 205-pound defenseman “was named Hockey East’s Best Defensive Defenseman” in 2015-16. He was also “named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team after his freshman year.”

Internationally, he “represented the U.S. at the 2014 World Junior Championships” and was named the Best Defenseman at the Under-18 World Championships.

Prior to college, he played with the United States National Development Program in the USHL from 2011-12 to 2012-13. He played in 182 games in the USHL, netting three goals and 32 assists for 35 total points.

The only RFA remaining for the Devils to ink now is Miles Wood, a fan favorite who will likely be brought into the fold sooner rather than later. We will wait and see.

Qualifying Offers Extended by Devils to Eight Players

According to articles written today by Abbey Mastracco of the North Jersey Record and Chris Ryan of The Star Ledger, the Devils have extended qualifying offers to eight players.

The players are all restricted free agents. They also declined “qualifying offers for two players, making them unrestricted free agents on July 1” according to Ryan. The players given qualifying offers were forwards Miles Wood, Blake Coleman and Stefan Noesen among those who played in the NHL last season and also defenseman Steven Santini. According to Ryan, “AHL players Nick Lappin, Kevin Rooney, Michael Kapla and Christoph Bertschy also received qualifying offers.”

Ryan also said that “(f)orward Mario Lucia and goalie Ken Appleby did not get qualifying offers.” Although the Devils could still re-sign them should they choose, they will be unrestricted free agents on July 1.

According to Mastracco, Noesen, Coleman, Lappin and Rooney are arbitration eligable. She said that “(t)he deadline to file for salary arbitration is July 5. Both Coleman and Noesen made $660,000 last season on one-year deals according to Mastracco.

In other news that you may have heard by now, the Devils were not one of the five teams that free agent superstar John Tavares has/will be meeting with this week. Several sources, including Arthur Staple, who covers the Islanders for The Athletic, in a tweet written on June 23, the Maple Leafs, Sharks, Stars, Bruins and Islanders were among the short list of teams that he has or will meet with. The Devils could always make an offer later on that Tavares and his agent would listen to, but most likely, New Jersey is not in on the Tavares sweepstakes.

Also, the Hockey Hall of Fame will be announcing their Class of 2018 members today at 3 PM. Martin Brodeur is in his first year of eligibility and will likely be a shoo in. We will have more information here as it becomes available today at 3 PM.