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On the New Jersey Devils' cap situation and a Will Butcher contract update

July 3, 2019, 10:23 AM ET [52 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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1) The New Jersey Devils have been quite active in recent weeks, adding the likes of Jack Hughes, P.K. Subban and Wayne Simmonds to their roster.

They still need to re-sign a few RFAs – with Will Butcher, Pavel Zacha, and Mirco Mueller being the notables – but they'll have plenty of raw cap space left after those guys are taken care of. There's room to do more.

Will they? That's another story.

Unless they can get somebody who overplayed their hand and will now come at a discount price, I'm not sure they're going to do much else in free agency.

I think the more likely path to improvement is via the trade route. In particular, taking advantage of teams already up against it (Vegas, for example) or teams that continue spending in the coming weeks and get themselves into trouble.

They're going to wait for the right opportunity, as they should. While $20 million seems like a massive number, their RFAs are going to eat into it and the Devils have to leave some money for all the bonuses Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Ty Smith, and co. are likely to cash on their ELCs. If there isn't money for that this year, it's taken off next year's cap. I'm guessing Ray Shero doesn't want that.

He can still spend but not as much as it appears on the surface; there might only be room for one addition of note. He has to be smart about it.

2) I'm told contract talks with Will Butcher, who is open to a bridge deal or something with more term, are not far along at all. If that doesn't change in the coming days, Butcher's camp will file for arbitration.

That's probably not as big of a deal as it sounds. Players simply exercise that option to put somewhat of a clock on negotiations so the two sides have incentive to work towards a solution, rather than letting things drag out.

Butcher is represented by the same agent, Brian Bartlett, who filed for Blake Coleman just a year ago. Coleman's hearing was scheduled for July 22nd and a three-year extension was worked out five days prior.

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