Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gm: No Shortcuts

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gm: No Shortcuts

Article excerpt

The Devils have plenty of salary-cap space and holes to fill, but it seems unlikely they will be among the big spenders when the NHL's unrestricted free-agent market opens for business at noon Wednesday.

With a plan to get younger and a thin market of UFAs available, Devils general manager Ray Shero might wait out the initial frenzy and then see if there are some players available who fit his team.

"There are no shortcuts here and I don't believe free agency is the way to build this hockey team," Shero said. "There is a going to be a certain player or two throughout free agency that, hopefully, can fit for the Devils and we'll see if it's going to be this year or there might be other free agents this summer ... that might fit exactly what we're talking about - being fast, attacking supportive - and play within the way we want to play."

Shero acquired one player that fits that bill in Friday's trade with Anaheim for Montvale native Kyle Palmieri. After matching his career high with 14 goals in 57 games in 2014-15, the 24-year-old right wing has the potential to score 20-plus -- particularly with the opportunity for more ice time he'll receive with the Devils.

There was some speculation that the Devils were interested in Ducks unrestricted free agent Matt Beleskey, including what proved to be an incorrect report that they had acquired the 27-year-old left wing's negotiating rights as part of the Palmieri trade. The price tag is likely to be high on Beleskey, though, after he scored a career-high 22 goals this past season.

Shero acknowledged that most unrestricted free agents will be "overpriced, probably."

"But that's the way it is with free agency now," he said. "But sometimes it's not, particularly with guys on those one-year deals. You try to identify those value-type players, and maybe it's a one- year deal like that that might fill a need in a certain role or how we want to play. …

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