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Devils offseason moves


MadDevil
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With the first day of free agency over, I have to say I think Lou had a pretty decent day. The Devils desperately need offense, and Cammalleri and Havlat both should help. I really like the addition of Cammalleri, although I would have preferred a 2-3 year contract instead of 5  years, but it's free agency. You usually have to overspend either in salary or contract length to get the player you really want. Havlat is a cheap, low risk move that could pay off huge if he can stay healthy and finds some chemistry with either one of his fellow countrymen Elias or Jagr. He's really close friends with Elias, so that should help. As for the rest of the moves up front, I wasn't thrilled with the re-signings of Bernier or Gionta. Bernier was pretty much useless last year, and Gionta was overused by the coaching staff (DeBoer loves the guy). Supposedly they're still interested in bringing Carter back, and Josefson was qualified but hasn't signed a contract yet. They've already got too many forwards, so I'm not sure how that's all going to work out.

 

C

Zajac

Henrique

Elias

Gionta

 

LW

Cammalleri

Clowe

Ruutu

Zubrus

 

RW

Jagr

Ryder

Havlat

Brunner

Bernier

 

That's 13 forwards, not counting Carter or Josefson. Clowe is questionable because he's one hit away from retirement. In fact I wonder if Lou knows something about him with all the forwards he's signed. Havlat is a question as well given his injury history. And with several older forwards one of them is bound to get injured eventually. Bernier I think is basically on a tryout contract. He was abysmal last year. I guess they're hoping he bounces back and earns a spot. If not I could see them dumping him before the season.

 

As for the defense, losing Fayne hurts, but it was probably a necessary move to clear the logjam they had on defense. Buying Volchenkov out was the first step. Then letting Fayne walk basically cleared it all up.

 

Greene

Zidlicky

Larsson

Merrill

Gelinas

Salvador

Harrold

 

The kids will definitely be given a chance to play regularly this year. Merrill looked pretty solid for a rookie last year. Gelinas has some really good offensive tools, but his defensive game was pretty horrific at times. Hopefully he can clean that up a bit. This season is a huge year for Larsson. He's been in and out of the lineup because of some poor play, injuries, and the team just having too many defensemen. His lack of progress so far is concerning, but he did show some signs of being a really solid player when he was paired with Gelinas last year, before he got injured and sent to the AHL. It took Hedman a few years as well to really shine, so hopefully he's on the same trajectory.

 

As for the goaltending, it's Cory Schneider's show. He was fantastic for much of the season last year. He did have a couple down stretches, but I honestly think had he started 60+ games like he should this year, the Devils probably make the playoffs last year. I love Marty to death, but he (and DeBoer) really didn't do the team any good by playing as much as he did. Re-signing Cory has to be Lou's biggest priority going forward. I'm hoping to hear something about a contract extension in the new few weeks. It would be an absolute disaster to lose him after next season for nothing. If they can't work out a deal, I hope Lou is smart and trades him. It's getting pretty damn old seeing quality talent leave the team for absolutely nothing in return. As for his backup, I think Kinkaid will be given every chance to be the backup, but if he doesn't work out, they did sign Clemmensen, who has been the backup in New Jersey before.

 

I'm really not sure what Lou has up his sleeve this summer. With all the forwards they have signed, it makes me think somebody is getting traded before the season, or Clowe might really be done. It'll be interesting to see what happens the rest of the summer and into training camp.

Edited by MadDevil
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Line combos are going to be interesting. Elias, Henrique, Zubrus, Carter, and Josefson have all played center and wing at various times over the last couple years. I expect there to be a lot if mixing and matching. I'd go with something like...

Cammalleri-Zajac-Jagr

Elias-Henrique-Havlat

Ruutu-Josefson-Ryder

Zubrus-Carter-Brunner

Clowe-Gionta-Bernier

I realize that's 15 forwards, but I really don't know how much Clowe and/or Havlat are going to play. I kind of get the feeling that somebody might be traded. I'm also assuming both Josefson and Carter will be back. Josefson is a RFA yet. Carter might not be back. If he isn't slot Gionta in on the fourth.

On defense I'd go with...

Greene-Larsson

Merrill-Zidlicky

Salvador-Gelinas

Harrold

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@MadDevil  Zajac played in 80 games last year, totaled a very *meh* 18 goals and 48 assists. If he is really your #1 center, you guys are in trouble. A big factor moving forwards is the continued development of Henrique. I suspect he's ready to be the #1 go to guy, which makes more sense than Travis trying to be a #1 option...he's just not that type of player. Much more suited for #2 secondary role.

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I think Zajac is still pretty underrated around the league. People look at his offensive stats and go "Meh", but he's an incredibly important player for the Devils. Is he a #1 center on a Cup team? No. But he's one of the best defensive centers in the league (he doesn't put up the points of Kopitar, Toews, or Bergeron to get Selke consideration). His offensive game has always been dependant on his linemates. The 60 point seasons he had were playing with Parise, who practically shared a brain with him on the ice, and Langenbrunner. That line was ridiculously good together. This year he struggled early but once he found chemistry with Jagr he was fantastic.

Your point about Henrique is spot on though. I think he could score 30 goals this year, especially if they keep him with Elias. He reminds me in a lot of ways of Parise. He doesn't have the Energizer bunny motor like Parise does, but he has a nose for the net, he can play in any situation, and he's just a very mature player. He's got future captain written all over him.

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@MadDevil

 

Nice post!

 

I think Cammalleri was the surprise signing of this years free agency.  The Devils, like others, had to over pay to get him.  5M over 2-3 seasons would have been ideal.  But non the less Cammalleri is exactly the type of player the Devils need.  Last season Cammalleri scored 26 goals in 63 games (34 goal pace) while playing for a poor offensive team in Calgary.   He is also one of the best at scoring at 5 on 5.  

 

Improving the Devil's 5 on 5 play will keep them in the mix this season as they already have solid defensive play and a quality goaltender.  

 

On a side note I think Salvador is one of the most underrated d-men in the league.  

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