Devils beat reporter Andrew Gross on why both sides got what they wanted in Damon Severson’s new deal. Andrew Gross/NorthJersey.com
Damon Severson didn’t want to be that guy.
That guy who missed the start of training camp.
So it was with a mixture of relief and excitement that the Devils defenseman, a restricted free agent without arbitration rights, spoke on Monday after agreeing to a six-year deal worth $25 million with an annual average value of $4.167 million.
The Devils open training camp on Thursday and their preseason opener is next Monday against the Capitals at Prudential Center.
“I had a good feeling it was going to get done,” the 23-year-old Severson said on a conference call. “It was just part of the business. I was confident I wanted to come back to New Jersey. The Devils felt the same way. It was a matter of figuring out the right contract. I didn’t want to be the guy who missed training camp. I wanted to be here with the guys for training camp and prepare like everyone else for the upcoming season.”
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The right-shooting Severson, who had three goals and 28 assists in 2016-17 for a career-high 31 points in his third NHL season after being the Devils’ second-round pick in 2012, was coming off a three-year, $2.85 million entry-level deal.
The sides discussed both a longer-term deal or a shorter, bridge deal that would have left Severson again a restricted free agent, this time with arbitration rights.
Instead, there was compromise on both sides.
“It kind of wears on you a little bit and the sooner you get a contract done, the better,” Severson said. “The last few weeks were good. We were very close. To come to an agreement in the last few days, it was a relief maybe.”
Severson received a higher salary than he would have under a shorter-term deal but the Devils also bought back two seasons when Severson potentially could have been an unrestricted free agent.
“We looked at a lot of different things,” general manager Ray Shero said. “We’re buying two years of unrestricted free agency. A lot of those contracts for younger…