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Devils, Souray and the salary cap

Brian Rolston was rumored as a cap casualty since Ilya Kovalchuk signed on with the team, but the Devils managed to keep all their veterans on board...for now. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Brian Rolston was rumored as a cap casualty since Ilya Kovalchuk signed on with the team, but the Devils managed to keep all their veterans on board...for now. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils barely managed to get below the NHL’s $59.4 million salary cap prior to the start of the season, but they’re not out of the woods yet.

One of the measures GM Lou Lamoriello employed to become cap compliant was icing a 20-man roster to open the season, but they’ll find themselves in cap difficulty again should they lose a player to injury.

Lamoriello, however, appears to have another option up his sleeve.

The New York Post reported center Adam Mair is continuing to practice with the Devils, although he hasn’t been signed to a contract. Mair attended the Devils training camp and pre-season on a tryout basis and the Post suggested he’ll be signed if one of the regulars is sidelined by injury.

Expect salary cap issues to keep the Devils in the trade rumor mill in the coming weeks.

One Devils player rumored as a possible trade candidate was right winger David Clarkson, but as THN.com’s own Ryan Dixon recently observed, the opportunity is there for the gritty Clarkson to carve out a niche on one of the Devils’ top two lines.

SOURAY HEADING TO HERSHEY

The Sheldon Souray trade watch is over.

After trying unsuccessfully throughout the off-season to trade the unhappy defenseman, the Edmonton Oilers demoted Souray as expected, though it was a bit of a surprise they loaned him to the Washington Capitals’ American League farm team in Hershey rather than sending him to their own farm club in Oklahoma City.

The reason behind that move is that Oilers management apparently didn’t want Souray to be playing with their prospects where he could potentially become a bad influence.

This move led to suggestions the Capitals would consider calling up Souray later in the season, but the Oilers still retain his NHL rights, so such a move isn’t allowed.

Even if the Oilers trade Souray’s rights – to the Capitals or another NHL team – he’d still have to pass through re-entry waivers where another team could claim him for only half of his $5.4 million per season cap hit.

Re-entry waivers are the only way Souray will get back into the NHL this season, but Oilers GM Steve Tambellini isn’t going to do that unless a rival GM expresses interest in the defenseman and that won’t happen until he gets some AHL games under his belt and proves he’s overcome last season’s injuries.

It’s also possible the Oilers will keep Souray buried in the minors for the rest of the season, but if he plays well in Hershey that might attract the attention of NHL GMs in the market for an experienced defenseman with a big shot.

The Columbus Blue Jackets were linked with Souray last month, but ultimately nothing came of it.

A report in the Columbus Dispatch prior to the start of the season indicated there hadn’t been any substantial discussions between the Jackets and Oilers management teams regarding a trade, with a source claiming the possibility of a transaction between the two was “remote.”

Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline also noted Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson had brief discussions earlier in the summer with the Vancouver Canucks about a possible acquisition of a defenseman, but much like those talks with the Oilers, nothing ultimately panned out.

Portzline suggested Howson may swing a trade for a defenseman later in the season, but the Blue Jackets GM currently isn’t pushing the issue.

A point to keep in mind for future reference: the Washington Capitals have more than $3.8 million in available cap space entering this season, which will come in handy should the club decide to bolster their roster by the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

 

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.

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