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yave1964

Devils offseason review

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Part three of thirty, this time the Devils:Ilya Kovalchuk

 

A QUICK LOOK BACK: Last summer the Devils pulled off what many saw as the steal of the offseason, trading steady as she goes but offensively defficient blueliner Adam Larsson to the Oilers for electrifying at times Taylor Hall in a move that stunned the hockey world. The Oilers were lambasted, the Devils clearly won the deal according to pretty much everyone.

  Well it simply didnt work out that way. Larsson became the calming influence on the Oiler back end and was a key player as they returned to the playoffs, the Devils offense was a virtual repeat of the year before, in other words inept. And to top it all off, Cory Schneider lost his best support system in Larsson and saw his numbers slip dramatically. The Devils floundered and plodded along all year never really getting it together. 

  Kyle Palmieri proved that the year before was no fluke as he was solid again, Adam Henrique continued to be maddeningly inconsistent, Hall was good but only good, Cammalleri seems to have hit the wall and is rounding third and heading for home. Kids such as Zacha and Severson showed flashes at times and looked hopelessly over matched at others. Goalie Cory Schneider saw his goals against skyrocket from 2.15 to a woeful 2.82 without Larsson. They looked hopeless and lost as they stumbled to a 28-40-14 record.

 

  The good news? They won the draft lottery. The bad? while it is a deep draft there is no generational talent waiting to be plucked from the top.

 

FREE AGENTS:

 

 A bunch of junk really. KEITH KINCAID, the backup goalie who saw little time with Schneider manning the net is an UFA but there are lots of kids chomping at the bit at the AHL level ready or nearly so. Other than that, there is nobody they will come close to missing. Marc Savards deal comes off the books.

 

QUESTION MARKS:

 

1) WHO TO DRAFT WITH THE FIRST OVERALL PICK? GM Shero has stated that he will in all likelihood hold onto the pick and that he will concentrate on the center position this offseason with Zajac another year older and Henrique proving he belongs on the wing and Zacha not hitting the league running it is indeed a rather boring pedestrian bunch. His two choices are big Nolan Patrick the best true center in the draft or lightning quick Nico Hischier who may be more suited to play wing. A lot of people like Hischier better as far as upside but Patrick suits the team need more so it is indeed an interesting pick.

 

2) ILYA KOVALCHUK WANTS TO COME BACK? Rumors are often just that but it appears more and more likely that Ilya Kovalchuk will indeed return to the NHL in 2017-18. Will he be a Devil? will the Devils trade his rights? What is he worth after missing three seasons playing in mother Russia? Can the Devils parlay him into a usable piece or two?

 

3) WOULD THE REAL CORY SCHNEIDER PLEASE STAND UP? After a season in which he kept the Devils from being among the all time worst two years ago Schneider was borderline awful at times last year, he seemed combative with his defense, often glaring out after Merrill or Lovejoy would blow assignments allowing a forward to walk right in and score. It was in his head, his goals against had a massive spike. Can he bounce back? There have even been a few whispers about the Devils dealing him, should they at least consider it?

 

4) CAN ANYONE HERE PLAY DEFENSE? As a Red Wings fan I know a little bit about what a bad defense looks like but truthfully, this is an awful mess in New Jersey. Merrill looks like a third pair guy at best, not quite a bust but close. Severson can move the puck but gave up some awful odd man rushes the other way by trying to do too much. I love Dalton Prout for his physicality but he is a pylon. Lovejoy is a great guy, love hearing him interviewed he seems to truly love the game but he cannot play. Andy Greene at his best was a solid stay at home guy but now is becoming a liability. And there is nothing in the system.

 

  I see this as the logical landing spot for Kevin Shattenkirk, warts and all he would be far and away the best defenseman on the team and has stated that he wants to play in the area. They would have to overpay of course, you have to do that with free agents but he wants to be a number one and felt in Washington that he was misused and with the Rags would have Mcdonough to deal with. In Jersey he would be a man among boys. If they can draft Patrick and sign Shatty and a solid stay at home guy the offseason would have to be considered a home run not even counting whatever comes of the Kovie situation.

 

  This is a make or break offseason for the Devils. They do have quite a few kids chomping at the bit for playing time (Wood, Quenneville, Santini, Lappin among others) and with Patrick/Hirschier joining the mix and money to spend on UFA it could be a vastly different looking team come October.

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Nice write up about a season I'd just as soon forget. Basically everything that could go wrong did. The only bright spots were Palmieri, Hall, Zajac, and Wood.

 

They have 21 draft picks over the next 2 drafts and plenty of cap space, so Shero has assets to work with to improve the team. I think he'll be targeting a top 4 defenseman for sure. The defense is basically Greene, Severson and a bunch of third pairing or #7 defensemen. Santini might have the potential to be a top 4 guy eventually, but he's not there yet. Plus Greene is already 34 so he's well into the back 9 of his career.

 

As for the forwards, they desperately need some RW depth. After Palmieri it's pretty bleak. Bennett is fine as a bottom 6 forward, but that's it. Luckily they do have some reinforcements coming from within with whichever of Patrick/Hischier they take, plus Zacha, Quenneville, Wood, McLeod, Speers (who I like quite a bit), etc. At the very least those guys should provide some depth in the coming years, even if they don't all end up being impact players.

 

So basically I would say they still need 2 top 4 defensemen and a top 6 RW if they're going to start to improve. Fixing all of those needs in one offseason is probably not realistic, but signing Shattenkirk would fill one of the holes on defense, and if they can somehow manage to get a top 6 RW they'd at least be on the right path.

 

This could be an epic offseason for the franchise.

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@MadDevil

 

Good thoughts on your boys as well. To me, they desperately need to fix their defense, I wrote the same last year and they added Quincey and then Prout which did nothing to address the problems and the kids other than maybe Santini did nothing to improve.

  Kovalchuk may be the key. If he wants to come back and the Devils hold the cards he may bring a decent return even after his self imposed sabbatical. The elephant in the room however is Schneider, his goals against total rising by .67 a game is alarming to put it mildly. Part of it, I am certain a big part was the loss of Larsson but he has to get sharper.

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Cory definitely had a bad year, but I'm not too worried about it. Before this year he's been a pretty consistent .920 goaltender. It didn't help that the team bled shots and was giving up more quality chances than the year before, where they played a very low event style of game. They tried to open it up but they just don't have the horses to transition quickly, which led to more time spent defending, which exposed their defensive issues even more. 

 

The lack of a transition game is probably their biggest issue. Severson and Hall had to do a lot of heavy lifting in that regard, and it's where they really miss Larsson, who is not only a rock in his own end, but can make that good first pass to get the transition started. It's where they could really use a Shattenkirk, or a Vatanen, or even a Justin Schultz if they can somehow get one of them. Anything is better than Lovejoy's patented off the boards/glass clear that gets held in at the blueline most of the time.

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Mirco Mueller to the Devs.

 

Hope he can work out for you. For the Sharks he seems to be a bust prospect, but maybe a change of scenery will do

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1 hour ago, J0e Th0rnton said:

Mirco Mueller to the Devs.

 

Hope he can work out for you. For the Sharks he seems to be a bust prospect, but maybe a change of scenery will do

 

 

Mueller.jpg

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1 hour ago, J0e Th0rnton said:

Mirco Mueller to the Devs.

 

Hope he can work out for you. For the Sharks he seems to be a bust prospect, but maybe a change of scenery will do

 

Not exactly the defensive help I was hoping for, but he's still only 22, so maybe he can still become something. He might just end up being Merrill's replacement if he gets taken by Vegas.

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On 6/18/2017 at 5:42 PM, MadDevil said:

 

Not exactly the defensive help I was hoping for, but he's still only 22, so maybe he can still become something. He might just end up being Merrill's replacement if he gets taken by Vegas.

 

The Devils offseason just got a bit better as Will Butcher signs a 2 year deal with the Devils and should provide some defensive help on the blueline.

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 Adding a young kid like Mirco Mueller is exactly the type of risk/reward kind of stuff the Devils should be doing. The offense should be respectable, the defense obviously needs work. Perhaps Kovy can be flipped for defensive help? My gut says Kovy will come back in 2018 and be a UFA, choose his own team and terms etc....unless of course he likes the team he is dealt to and can get a long term deal out of it. A very iffy proposition, but hey, at least work the phones. Maybe try and trade for a guy who can eat up ice time and throw in a bit of offense, like Holden, always thought he was underrated. Maybe Santini grabs a spot, he is highly regarded. The Devs have to find a cost efficient way to add 2 but probably 3 dmen into their line up if they want a playoff spot. 

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@hf101

 

@jammer2

 

Honestly the whole group they signed just looks like a mish mash of whom ever they can just get to sign in NJ i don't expect another good year from them....so that should mean if they don't beat anyone they should sweep the Flyers.....sad.

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Severson re-signed. 6 years, 4.167 million AAV. Basically the exact same contract they gave Larsson 2 years ago.

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2 hours ago, MadDevil said:

Severson re-signed. 6 years, 4.167 million AAV. Basically the exact same contract they gave Larsson 2 years ago.

 

Well, some might think it is a bit of an overpay, but I look at this way:  

He is a 23 yr old defenseman with decent size and skating ability, and his production, albeit it is mostly in assists, has improved a bit every year he has played in the NHL.

 

This contract keeps him locked up through his continuing development years and into his 'defensive prime' as he will just be 29-30 yrs old when the contract ends.

 

Compared to Larsson, I think Severson may be better offensively.

Now, what I DON'T know is, how good is Severson when it comes to taking the body, disrupting plays and just general smarts.

That could be the real value or overpay when it comes to the contract he got from NJ.

 

On top of all that, NJ still has just over $10M in cap space left over.

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He put up 30 points on a team whose offense was a complete dumpster fire, so if the forwards start finishing on the offense he creates, I think he could be a 40 point player. He can be a little careless with the puck and gets outmuscled at times, so that's definitely something he needs to work on. I think he's smart enough though to where he'll learn that as he keeps maturing. 

 

Now, if they can just get somebody better than a 34-35 year old Andy Greene or John Moore for him play with...

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      Cory definitely had a bad year, but I'm not too worried about it. Before this year he's been a pretty consistent .920 goaltender. It didn't help that the team bled shots and was giving up more quality chances than the year before, where they played a very low event style of game. They tried to open it up but they just don't have the horses to transition quickly, which led to more time spent defending, which exposed their defensive issues even more.    The lack of a transition game is p
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      Severson re-signed. 6 years, 4.167 million AAV. Basically the exact same contract they gave Larsson 2 years ago.

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