There is a lot of chatter on the various Devils forums and websites that I browse throughout the day about the need to get rid of John MacLean. While I can’t say that this seasons shortcomings aren’t his fault, I honestly believe that 27 games is far too quick to let a coach go. If you want to take that as “keeping our heads in our asses” then ok, that is what I am suggesting. Maybe we need to look at guys like Larry Robinson and Adam Oates first. I mean Larry didn’t have the greatest time coaching this team his last time around and Oates was brought in to help the PP score, which it hasn’t.
The Devils could probably benefit from getting rid of a few players and bringing in some new faces to maybe spark this team into actually looking like a professional hockey team. But, before I start naming players that should go, lets give some thought to having Lou himself leave this team.
I know, that’s a very big statement to make about a guy who’s really brought a lot to this organization but I find myself often wondering, and not just this season either, does Lou really understand the current NHL or is he really stuck back in the old version where goalies and defense with very little scoring won championships? Contracts like Rolston’s, Kovalchuk’s and Tallinder’s further prove why I should be doubting this man at this point in time.
I’ve been against Kovalchuk coming here from day 1, its no secret, go look at the archives. While I can admit that Kovalchuk has a talent that very few in the NHL have, I’ve also said numerous times that while he was in Atlanta, he didn’t make the guys around him better. Players like Crosby, Ovechkin, Gaborik, etc do make the players on their lines better. During Kovalchuk’s time there, Atlanta never went anywhere in the standings except one appearance in the post-season where they were swept by the Rangers. You can argue that Altanta never really had anyone other than Kovalchuk but that’s not entirely true. Lets just remember that Marian Hossa was once a Thrasher. Reality is, Kovalchuk is here to stay so why even bother talking about him!! When it comes to Kovalchuk, we’d be much better off if he didn’t hold on to the puck, shot the puck more and didn’t try to constantly dance pass 2 and 3 defenders.
So lets look at some other players that need to go and yes, guys would need to let go of their No Trade Clauses but for the sake of argument, lets assume they do.
Jamie Langenbrunner – Is probably tops on everyone’s list. Its no secret this guy disappeared after some incident last Spring in Carolina and when it comes to the subject of being a Captain, he makes Chris Drury look effective. The sad thing is, coming out of the Flyers game Saturday, he was the leading point getter on the road for the Devils this season. YUCK!! He was once a player that would come through for you when needed. Now, he is just taking up space.
David Clarkson – I love this guy but the truth is, he is not playing up to expectations. Two years ago he had a season where he blew everyones expectations out of the water so last season we piled more of top of him. Now admittedly he got hurt and missed a lot but this season, he’s not meeting them either. He averages 14 mins of ice time per game, has 4 goals and 3 assists and is a disgusting -10. His 62 mins in the penalty box isn’t helping anyone.
Dainius Zubrus – Since I listed Clarkson and his -10, its only right I list Zubrus. Zubrus gives us size on the ice but I don’t think he gives us much else. He averages even more time than Clarkson at 16 mins, has way less time in the box and has 3 goals and 8 assists to go along with his -10. He’s also a decent hit on the cap and one of the few without a NTC. Can anyone give me an argument for keeping this guy?
Henrik Tallinder – Who is the shithead who did their homework on this guy last summer? Tallinder has done nothing but watch guys skate right by him this season. He has an average of almost 23 mins of ice time per game and has 4 points and a -14 rating. This guy is a bust and will be taking 3.375 million from our cap through the 2013/2014 season. I was hopeful this guy would bring something to this team but he hasn’t, not yet anyway.
Brian Rolston – His cap hit alone makes him untradeable. He doesn’t really offer much other than a hard shot. If someone would take him, I would part ways right now but I think it is highly unlikely.
Now the problem, who’s even going to take any of these guys? The rest of league knows what a mess this roster is, what a mess this team has become and if they aren’t performing for us, then why would any of the other 29 GM’s give us anything valuable for them? At this point I don’t even know what Lou could do to change this season around.
The other part of this whole thing as that if you told me in September, the Devils would be missing Parise for half a season, Marty for a good number of games in the beginning of the season and no Bryce Salvador, I would have question our abilities to get anything done. You can look at it as an excuse but it there is a little truth behind what those three contribute to this team.
Let me know your thoughts.