Soon after the announcement that he had signed with the Devils as a free agent, forward Mike Cammalleri spoke to reporters about the decision.
Why New Jersey?
Mike Cammalleri: It’s something I’ve been keen on for a while. I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Lamoriello and spend some time with him this past weekend. I just feel like it’s a great opportunity for me to be a part of the New Jersey Devils for a lot of reasons. I have a lot of respect for the way things are done there and for the success that has been the track record there. I believe in that and believe in the method and the way. It was something I’ve been keen on and kind of watched for a while and something I wanted to be a part of.
Was the length of the contract length a key?
MC: I don’t know that it was a key. I appreciate being appreciated and somebody wanting you to be a part of the cause. I guess there’s a commitment level there that’s much appreciated on my behalf.
What are your thoughts on [the Devils missing the playoffs the last two seasons]?
MC: My analysis of that is, if you look at it, I think New Jersey was sixth in goals against last year and the top 12 teams in goals against made the playoffs last year other than New Jersey. I think the template for how to win and be a playoff team and then once you get into the playoffs, how to compete for the Stanley Cup, is there. I don’t know the exact reasons for why the success maybe hadn’t been there last year, but my feeling is there’s a definite chance of that this year.
What’s your success on the shootout?
MC: I don’t know my exact numbers [2-for-6 last season]. I know that was something last year. My opinion on that is, it’s something that can be worked on and I know that’s something I’ll work on for sure is trying to become more efficient at that and help win games that way.
Why did the Devils bring you on board?
MC: I think that there’s a fit; I think there’s a good fit for the club and for myself, and I think that’s something that was identified. The skill set that I can bring and the teammate that I can be at this point in my career is probably something that fits in nicely to the chemistry of the group.
Have you been given any idea where you might fit in the lineup, and what are your initial thoughts on possibly playing with Jaromir Jagr?
MC: I can tell you that today Jarome Iginla called to congratulate me and said, ‘Pretty cool to play with Jagr.’ That was a little tidbit from Jarome. Yeah, it’s an opportunity to get a chance to play with him. He’s a legend of our game for sure. I don’t know whether that means playing alongside him or not, and to be quite honest with you, I’m not really concerned with any of that. I’ll leave all those decisions up to the coaches and I’ll just play as hard as I can, whatever position they put me in, whatever helps the team win.
What will you add to the Devils’ chances of getting back to the playoffs?
MC: That’s the whole goal. The whole goal is getting in, and once you get in, competing for the Cup. We saw the Rangers do it this year, and I think somebody said earlier, there’s definitely some parity in the East where if you put together the group you want and get the team play you want, you’re going to have a chance to do something special. I’m sure the Devils-Rangers rivalry will be a lot of fun. I’m sure there’s no love lost there.
Is there pressure on you to give the offense an instant boost?
MC: I don’t feel that way. I feel as if my job is just to come in and be the best player and best teammate I can be. Whether the goals go in or not, that’s not something I’m going to be thinking about. If we’re winning hockey games, everybody’s happy.