26-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Eric Gelinas Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $3.15 million contract with the Devils in July 2015.
Gelinas wasn't extended a qualifying offer from the Avalanche and will become an unrestricted free agent, Renaud Lavoie of the Montreal Journal reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Eric Gelinas.
Gelinas, 24, is part of a rising defense corps in New Jersey that also includes Adam Larsson (22) and Damon Severson (21), but after bursting onto the scene in 2013-14 with a 29-point campaign, he generally registered as a disappointment in his sophomore campaign. The 24-year-old still found twine six times, but he failed to hit 20 points and found himself as a healthy scratch on several occasions. While Gelinas saw his fortunes improve after the Devils fired coach Peter DeBoer and turned the reins over to a new staff, he'll still need to demonstrate in training camp that he can play soundly on both ends of the ice in order to earn a regular role on the blue line. Although the Devils lack star power up front, Gelinas is an excellent skater and a puck-moving blueliner who can make things happen in the open ice and on the power play. If he can avoid the spotty lapses in his own zone that often resulted in benchings, Gelinas could bounce back to the 25-to-30-point range in his third NHL season.
One of last seasonís most surprising and vexing players, Gelinas showed flashes of offensive talent mixed in with tentativeness and spotty defensive zone play. His ability to contribute from the blue line was evident early during his 60-game tenure, as most of his 29 points came before the calendar hit 2014, save for two multi-point games. He has a booming slap shot and isnít shy about using it, but he found himself on a seemingly permanent shuttle between Newark and AHL Albany. Gelinas was often made an example of by coach Peter DeBoer, as the youngster was punished for small mistakes and saw his ice time severely limited in even-strength situations, even suiting up as a spare forward at times. Consistent ice time is far from guaranteed despite the obvious offensive upside. Should he be assured a regular role, look for his confidence to grow.
Gelinas is one of several young defensemen in the Devils' system who has a shot at making the club out of training camp. He has a booming shot from the point and a bit more flair to his offensive game than most of the team's defensemen, but the question is how will he play defensively. Odds are Gelinas will spend some time in the AHL this season but he's a name worth remembering
In his first professional season, Gelinas grabbed a solid 37 points in 75 games with Albany (AHL) to go with 55 penalty minutes. The Devils are not the deepest team on the blue line, with several indistinguishable candidates vying for the final two spots, but Gelinas could have a future role with the club, as the Devils are, and seemingly have always been, in desperate need of a puck-moving defender or two.
Gelinas posted 20 points (3 G, 17 A) in 27 games for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL in 2010-11, though he's behind several players in the New Jersey system, making him a non-factor in fantasy land ahead of the 2011-12 season.
Gelinas is a talented youngster and stuck around for several rounds of roster cuts in training camp. He will play this season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and has the potential for a bright NHL career.