The New Jersey Devils announced the re-signing of restricted free agent defenseman Damon Severson Monday morning to a six year 25 million dollar contract that will see the young right handed d-man stick around in New Jersey for a while.
If the contract number sounds familiar, it’s because the term and value was the exact same as Adam Larsson three summers ago. It’s a number that might seem a little high, but the Devils are paying for potential and Severson’s offensive capabilities and are hoping, like Larsson, he will parlay that contract into a strong season with the team.
Severson downplayed the notion of any pressure on himself to live up to the contract when by reporters if he felt any.
“I don’t really look at it as pressure I take it as a vote of confidence I guess from the management and ownership and everybody with the Devils and seeing the type of player I can be. I just got to use it as confidence and know that I can help the team with the skill set I bring and just do what I can to keep getting better and progress in a way to make this team better as well.”
Did you expect it to go this long and was there any worry about missing training camp?
“I had a good feeling it was going to get done. it’s just part of the business, you just have to go with the flow and let the management and agent kind of take care of things. I was confident that I wanted to come back to NJ and the Devils felt the same way; they wanted to have me back here and it was just a matter of figuring out the right contract for both sides and I’m very happy with what that does.”
“I didn’t want to be that type of guy to miss training camp or took some time away from the guys. I wanted to be with the guys for training camp, preparing the same way as everyone else would be for this upcoming season. that’s kind of where my mind was so I’m happy it got done and I’m just looking forward to the season.”
Did you go in looking for a longer term deal or bridge deal?
“I was pretty open to all options. I guess that’s something that’s kind of out of my control. I was an RFA with no arbitration rights so you know your place going in and let your agent deal with that.”
“I knew my market for a bridge deal or long term like we did and had an idea about that. I was happy when the Devils preferably wanted to go long term because I wanted to commit to NJ. A bridge deal is a different way of looking at it, but long term here I’m happy, I’m comfortable now and excited for what’s to come here. I’m excited about the moves made in the offseason.”
What was last hurdle to get the deal done and how stressful was it?
“It kind of wears on you a bit. the sooner you get a contract done, the better. For it to go as long as it did I guess you go through the summer and every day you’re going to the rink in August skating with all the guys and everybody talking about when they’re leaving and going back.”
“The past few weeks were very good, we were close. I look forward to the season and I’m re-energized. I didn’t want to be the guy sitting in Kelowna and not sitting with the guys in New Jersey.”
What have John Hynes and Alain Nasreddine done for your development?
“It’s been good with the coaching staff. They understand young players and they dealt and realize young players have bumps in the road and that I’m not a perfect player.”
“They want me to get better and bring my best every night and work hard. They want me to be doing what I’m supposed to be doing on the ice and do what I can do to help the team win hockey games. It doesn’t matter how we do it, it’s just a matter of winning. At the end of the year they don’t ask who lost the Stanley Cup, they ask who won it. One day, we want to get there.”
What do you feel Will Butcher and Mirco Mueller potentially bring to the blue line? You’re all around the same age, have you come across them in your career before?
“Any time you bring in some guys who are young players and give them opportunities it’s exciting and they’re looking for opportunities to establish themselves. I never met Will personally, I think he’s with the prospects.
“I met Mirco this morning and played against him in juniors, he was in Everett and I was in Kelowna. Hopefully they can make a good impression.”
Since you’ve battled with Mirco in the WHL, what are your memories of him, and what would he bring to the blue line?
” I think he’s a big guy and smooth skater and moves the puck well. He’s a simple player and thinks the game well. There’s nothing flashy or anything like that about him or anything, he just goes out there and tries to keep the game simple and contributes that way. He’s one of those guys that might not pop off the page, but he keeps his game simple in a way like Andy Greene. That’s what I remember the most about him from juniors.