The Devils are in a much better position heading into the All-Star break than they were last season but there are no guarentees for games 83, 84, 85 and 86. Here are three questions heading into the All-Star break.
1. Will They Make The Playoffs
They’ve dropped 3 straight going into the All-Star break and while they weren’t in the games against the Bruins or the Flyers, they did have a chance to win against the Sabres and did skate away from that game with 1 point. The Panthers are free-falling through the Eastern Conference standings at the moment and the Leafs are looking to turn things around. I do believe the Devils can pull it together post All-Star game and find a way to solidify a spot in the postseason but I certainly don’t believe that position will be anything higher than a 7th seed.
2. Will they make a deal?
I think the big question on everyone’s mind has to be, what do we do about Parise? Do we trade him or hang on to him in hopes that a) should we make the playoffs, he helps us find a way to make it past the first round and b) we find a way to sign him long term. I’m not sure what the answer is. The truth is, if we make the playoffs, we are probably headed for a matchup with the Rangers or the Bruins. I don’t know how well we’d play NY considering we haven’t played them much this season but we know the Bruins have our number. Should we trade Parise at the deadline to try and help out our team for next season, which assumes he would sign elsewhere July 1? I’ve heard rumors of Miller maybe wanting out of Buffalo. Could we trade Parise for Miller which would give us a replacement for Marty (assuming Buffalo would trade Miller and assuming if Marty doesn’t retire, we’d be ok letting him go elsewhere). Would we want to do that? In answer to my question, if we make a deal, I would imagine that it would HAVE to involve #9.
3. Who steps up in the second half?
I don’t know if it’s a matter of who steps up but how about continuing? Kovalchuk is contributing, Henrique is having a great rookie season and Elias has been awesome this year. This team doesn’t seem to be about 1 person stepping up but rather a team effort. I’d like to see someone of the defense step up and help this team find a solution to their third period problems. Ultimately, I would love it if Marty Brodeur was the guy to step it up in the second half and start stealing some games. He’s been getting better but I ALWAYS want more!!