As expected, the Devils will retire franchise icon Martin Brodeur’s jersey this season, on February 9 before the Devils host the Oilers and some dude named McDavid at the Rock. Also, the Devils will be dedicating a statue of Marty outside the Prudential Center on the previous weekend (hopefully to replace giant tin man currently outside of the arena). Showing a nice touch, the Devils made the press conference a formal announcement at the arena with fans in attendance and even a few who got to ask questions of Marty. I’m writing this before I’ve gotten a chance to watch but the Devils put the 25-minute presser on YouTube already, and emceed by native Jersey resident Kathryn Tappen of the NHL Network.
One thing I read on Twitter was that Marty was asked why the number retirement was on a Tuesday as opposed to on a weekend. Obviously the first thing that’s going to come to anyone’s mind is ticket sales – which have obviously exploded over the last two days both for the game itself and for the four-game packs the Devils are offering as another way for fans to get in to witness this historic night. If you were going to script the maximum effect of having a jersey retirement of a franchise icon, do it midweek at home against a non-conference team. Aside from the optics, as Marty himself said there was more to it than that and paramount to him was having his sons there. With two of his boys playing hockey, a weekday was really the best thing for their schedules. Not that I seriously considered giving up my season tickets even with the price increase this year but I’m definitely glad I didn’t give them up now, so I didn’t have to worry about being at this game.
It certainly was a busy day for the Devils, with the roster deadline at 5 PM today the Devils got to the maximum allowed of 23 players left on the roster, somewhat unexpectedly adding a player first – center Brian O’Neill from the Kings. New Jersey only gave up a conditional 7th rounder for O’Neill (with the condition being if we re-sign him for 2016-17). O’Neill is likely a depth player but one the Kings felt they would lose on waivers if they cut him so the Devils were able to scoop up a roster player at a bargain price, although I’d be lying if I said I’ve heard of this guy before today. With O’Neill’s addition the Devils had to make three roster subtractions. As expected, Seth Helgeson went down to Albany and Patrik Elias is either going on IR or the non-hockey injury list, that’s still up in the air but either way he won’t begin the season with the team. And thankfully, first-rounder Pavel Zacha will get more seasoning in Sarnia, I was worried the Devils were going to try and forcefeed him when he didn’t look ready, but maybe the fact he didn’t play in the last preseason game was a clue he was on his way back to juniors.
As of now the Devils’ Opening Night roster:
Forwards (14): Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, Kyle Palmieri, Adam Henrique, Sergei Kalinin, Stephen Gionta, Jiri Tlusty, Jacob Josefson, Jordin Tootoo, Lee Stempniak, Reid Boucher, Stefan Matteau. Tuomo Ruutu, Brian O’Neill.
Defensemen (7): Andy Greene, Adam Larsson, John Moore, Damon Severson, Jon Merrill, David Schlemko, Eric Gelinas.
Goaltenders (2): Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid.
IR: Patrik Elias