NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A week after the New Jersey Devils lost star forward Ilya Kovalchuk to sudden retirement, general manager Lou Lamoriello is still plotting out the future for a team that advanced to the Stanley Cup final just 13 months ago.
The Devils watched Kovalchuk last week sign his voluntary retirement papers, which allowed him to break free of the NHL and to sign a new deal in his native Russia. New Jersey also lost forward David Clarkson to free agency, as he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this month.
The Devils added some players up front in free agency as well, namely forwards Ryan Clowe, from the New York Rangers, and Michael Ryder, from the Phoenix Coyotes. But still, Lamoriello is in a bind as he looks to move past two players who combined for 93 goals the past two seasons.
“The biggest transition they have to make is certainly not (to) be intimidated,” Lamoriello said of his young prospects, who worked at the team’s developmental camp this week. “There are people that have had success in the league, people that they have watched play. This gives them an opportunity to feel good about themselves and make it easier as opposed to past years when they had to come in at training camp.”