It can be tough to write about hockey when your team is spending their days either fishing, golfing or hanging out with their families and, like it did yesterday here in NJ, when the temperature soars above 90 degrees but this is a hockey blog and that is what we try to do. With July 1st rapidly approaching, we are getting to the point where Lou needs to make a few decisions. Financially I don’t see how we can sign both Martin and Kovalchuk without making another move to free up space. I’ve been doing a review of players since the close of the season but we are going to wrap that up today with a post where I play GM and say who stays and who goes.
23 David Clarkson – Not a great season due to injury but he’s the resident “Tough Guy.” He’s gritty and that is a rarity in the Devils locker room these days.
14 Patrick Davis – He appears too low on the depth chart for my liking. He’s a RFA so if someone wants him, go ahead.
26 Patrik Elias – Absolutely a stay. Is he still not one of the best 2 way players in the NHL, not to mention absolutely money in the shootout when he’s the sudden death man?
17 Ilya Kovalchuk – Turned down $101 million in Atlanta and he’s not going to see that offer with Lou’s name on it. I don’t see him returning but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
15 Jamie Langenbrunner – He’s one I would actually consider moving but he has a pesky “No Trade Clause” so I don’t think he’s going anywhere. I’d like to thing the Olympics took a toll on him this season and that is why he limped through the playoffs.
22 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond – He fights but he doesn’t score. Sure we could fill his spot with a guy that has at least 1 career goal right?
11 Dean McAmmond – Turns 37 next month and there are a lot of young guys that could step into his spot.
21 Rob Niedermayer – Started out strong but when the calendar hit December, he disappeared. Now, that exactly what he should do from the roster
20 Jay Pandolfo – Struggled because of a shoulder injury all season long. Surprisingly he has a “No Trade Clause” so we can’t move him but I can’t figure out what role he still plays on this team.
9 Zach Parise – Should be wearing the “C” that is how important he is to this team.
10 Rod Pelley – Was pegged as John Madden’s replacement but I never saw it
25 Andrew Peters – Only thing that will miss this guy are the seats that his ass was usually planted in.
12 Brian Rolston – Didn’t have a great season but didn’t have as bad a season as I pictured. Not worth the $$ we gave him but he’s here to stay.
19 Travis Zajac – A huge piece to the puzzle for the Devils. He plays a very important role on this team we just aren’t sure its #1 or #2 centerman on the team.
18 Vladimir Zharkov – Played 40 games this season, didn’t find the net once and that’s not an easy thing to do. Maybe he can find the door!!
8 Dainius Zubrus - Was arguably the best forward in the playoffs. He had injuries this season but he still produced the numbers we expect of him.
2 Mark Fraser – I’d like to see what he does with some of the guys from Lowell that he has some chemisty with. He proved he’s capable of playing in the NHL.
6 Andy Greene – He’s a keeper because he’s the guy that stepped up when Martin was out. Biggest bargain on the team.
7 Paul Martin – He’s the Devils number 1 blue liner. Write this injury filled season off and sign him.
27 Mike Mottau – I know he works hard but it seems that the mistakes that Mottau makes are usually magnified.
29 Anssi Salmela – Has a lot to learn, for instance, minimizing the mistakes he made. I think he has potential but I need more than that.
24 Bryce Salvador – A physical presence on the blue line and while he didn’t do much against Philly, he’s a keeper.
28 Martin Skoula – Shouldn’t have ever landed on the Devils roster to begin with.
5 Colin White – Not the player he once was. His effectiveness around his own net is simply atrocious and I don’t know if that is due to his eyesight or what. Wouldn’t be sad to see him go.
30 Martin Brodeur – He’s on the downside of his career but he is not the reason we lost to Philly. He made some great plays in that series but the rest of the team just didn’t help him out. Trading him would probably net us a 1st line center, some draft picks and change the look and future of this team but trading him would also create a huge hole in our net. With the right guys, there is no reason he can’t win his 4th cup. Personally don’t see him going anywhere but I would like to see him sit a few more games.
35 Yann Danis – Appeared in 12 games and is capable of playing the backup, if that is what he wants to do.
So there are a few guys that we could move (some have to agreee to it) and that would allow Lou to find the cash to resign Martin and Kovalchuk. I still think Ilya moves to another team though. For some reason, St. Louis just seems to stand out in my head for his destination. Either way, Martin is a must and hopefully Lou’s priority this summer, right behind a new head coach that is!!