On the eve of NHL training camp opening for the New Jersey Devils and veterans set to report for physicals, the team made news on Wednesday adding three to its roster.
The Devils agreed to terms with Jiri Tlusty on a one-year, one-way contract worth $800,000. Tlusty, 27, finished the season with 14 goals and 31 assists in 72 games in a season that saw him dealt from Carolina to Winnipeg just prior to the trade deadline. He’s likely to enter camp competing for a spot on the top three lines of a forward group that new-GM Ray Shero hopes will be bolstered by some additional competition in camp.
The team also announced the signings of Tyler Kennedy and Lee Stempniak to professional tryout agreements. Kennedy, 29, split last season with San Jose and the Islanders, scoring 14 points in 38 games last season. The eight-year NHL vet has some ties to the organization, working under Shero in the Pittsburgh organization for the first seven years of his professional career. He also played with new assistant coach Alain Nasreddine, who was teammates with Kennedy in both Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL and in Pittsburgh at various times between 2006-2008.
Also attending camp in New Jersey will be 11-year NHL veteran, Lee Stempniak. Stempniak, 32, returns to the metropolitan area after starting last season with the Rangers. He was traded to Winnipeg just one day prior to the trade deadline. He finished the season with 28 points in 71 games, before adding a point (1 goal) in four post-season games with the Jets.
Both Kennedy and Stempniak will look to do as many veterans have done so in the past in New Jersey–earn a spot out of camp. A year ago the team invited five vets to camp, eventually signing Scott Gomez and Jordin Tootoo.
The Devils official training camp roster is expected to be released today with the official opening of camp.
Neal McHale began contributing to The Hockey Writers in 2015, covering NHL hockey and the New Jersey Devils. He also writes for Inside Hockey. Previously, he’s served as a correspondent to the Big East Conference and a staff writer for The Setonian. He graduated from Seton Hall University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations.