The New Jersey Devils did some house cleaning today, signing Scott Wedgewood, Joseph Blandisi and Mirco Mueller. Mueller will be on a two-year one-way deal that pays $850K per season, Blandisi will earn $680K per season on a two-year two-way deal, and Wedgewood will get the minimum $650K on a one-year two-way contract.
Mueller, the only one of the group who will play next season on a one-way deal was acquired by the Devils last month for a second-round pick from the San Jose Sharks, where he’d not been able to crack the lineup with any sort of consistency. A running gag last season was the incredible amount of times Mueller was moved between the Sharks and the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL, usually not playing a game during his NHL stints. In New Jersey, he’ll be afforded a much bigger role and given the chance to grow into the potential that made him a first-round pick a few years ago.
Blandisi has been a sort of 13th forward for the Devils the past two seasons, getting into 68 contests and registering 26 points. The Devils have hoped to coax out some of his offensive talent without giving him too big a role, considering that he scored 52 goals and 112 points as an over-aged player in his final year of junior hockey. There’s clearly talent there, but he’ll likely have to adjust his play style to be able to fit into a bottom-six on a full-time basis.
Wedgewood lost nearly the entire 2016-17 season when he underwent shoulder surgery in November, in what should have been a key development year. After putting up an outstanding 2015-16 campaign that resulted in his NHL debut, he was considered a possible successor to Cory Schneider down the line and at least had a future as an NHL backup. While this wasn’t the end of his career by any means, he’ll have to get back on the ice and prove that he’s still the same goaltender who put up a .933 save percentage in the AHL.