The New Jersey Devils signed forward Mike Cammalleri to a five-year deal worth $25 million, per the Star-Ledger. Cammalleri left the Calgary Flames despite repeated last-minute efforts from management to re-sign the scoring winger. He hit unrestricted free agency after having played through a 5 year $30 million contract signed with the Montreal Canadiens.
Mike Cammalleri’s biggest knock is his bad luck with health issues. He hasn’t played more than 70 games in a season since 2008-09 when he scored a career-high 82 points in 81 games with the Calgary Flames. It was the second time in three seasons that Cammalleri had hit 80 points.
The Devils are hoping that Cammalleri can bring some of that natural offensive touch to a team that barely missed the playoffs last year because it lacked a true finisher after forwards Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk departed in successive years. If the Devils even had Cammalleri for any or all of their 13 shootout losses, who knows how the season might have changed. The Devils are a solid possession team and they could just be a finisher away from returning to the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Cammalleri may not be the horse that Kovalchuk or Parise had been, but he scored 26 goals last season on a moribund Flames squad in addition to those 80-point seasons so it’s not unreasonable to think that a healthy season from Cammalleri would be a huge boon for the Devils. It’s just that a five-year deal requires five healthy seasons.
As we see every year, NHL teams are willing to cave on offering longer terms so long as they get a player who can help them next year.