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devilsrule33

3 Ways The Devils Have Disappointed (You) at the Break

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Good time to air out all the disappointment of the season, and maybe we can keep it all in one thread. It can be therapeutic. The unfortunate part is that there is a lot to choose from. Having said that, the Devils are only a few points out of a playoff spot, but disappointment and frustration can be more big picture than just being 3 points out of a playoff spot.

 

1) The defensive logjam has not been solved.

 

Lou Lamoriello removed a layer of the jam in the off-season when he traded Tallinder. The following is from TG's blog

 

 

 

“This was done to clear a spot for a young defenseman, who we feel are ready to play – one of them is,” Lamoriello said. “Which one I couldn’t tell you right now, but they’re all close. That’s basically what it is. It also moves money.” Lamoriello it’s to be determined which young defenseman ends up on the team. He mentioned Alex Urbom, Jon Merrill, Eric Gelinas and Damon Severson as possibilities.   

 

Things were sounding good, but then they signed Zidlicky (a fine move and a pretty good deal for the Devils). At that point it was clear that there wouldn't be room for any of the 4 defenseman listed above. That wasn't the end of the world, but at the very least you knew Adam Larsson would be there, and you hoped a guy like Peter Harrold would stick as the excellent 7th defenseman. 

 

Training camp started and all the young defensemen impressed. It was kind of disappointing to see them all go. Well with injuries, the Devils got quite a good look at Merrill and Gelinas and there was a lot to like. Adam Larsson was starting to play his best hockey as a Devil and for a bit we got to see a whole group of young defenseman all at once. 

 

Well the good news was that a spot was created for a young defenseman in the end. Jon Merrill is playing and doing a really nice job. But I don't think anyone expected it to be at the expense of Adam Larsson, who currently finds himself in Albany...having last played an NHL game on November 23rd. A young defenseman taking the spot of the former 4th overall pick. Taking the spot of a player that was playing his best hockey of his career in November. BRUTAL. Why Larsson? Let it be someone else. 

 

And then to add injury to insult, Lamoriello recently said that he felt the 7 best defenseman were on the roster right now and that no one was in the minors due to lack of flexibility with the big team.

 

Hard to know if playing in Albany is better for Adam than sitting and watching (he did this for a time earlier in the year) and getting into a game here and there, but his play certainly dictate him ever going to back to the minors.

 

2) The Devils young forwards have not been good

 

You can blame Pete for the yo-yoing all you want (oh I created an NJDEVS Lineup thread just for that purpose), and that might be fine for some, but it can't be fully responsible for the disappointing seasons of Tedenby, Josefson and Loktionov. Tedenby has a few months left in the Devils organization. His 22 points in 58 games as a 20-year-old was a great sign. But since that year he has 2 goals and 6 assists in 62 games. Even if you want to blame Pete for any of this, he has just 22 goals in 88 games with Albany.

 

Josefson and Loktionov are a little different. There are NHL careers out there for both of them. Loktionov certainly benefited from playing with Kovalchuk. This season has been a constant struggle. Same goes for Josefson, but he's gotten a raw deal. He's good enough to be playing nightly, and I contend that he could be doing a lot more with the minutes that Gionta gets. The numbers say that he has 1 goal in 40 games over the last two seasons. 

 

I am not going to argue that Deboer hasn't given these guys that much rope. It might be unbearable for Josefson and Loktionov going out there every game...knowing that any screw up means they are out of the lineup the next game or even longer. They are getting auditions they obviously can't nail when put on the top line and know they only have a few shifts to get it together. At the same time, Josefson, especially, has not shown Pete enough for a few years, so I can't blame him entirely for not feeling comfortable with him being a regular.

 

Either of them playing well is not the difference between the team winning and losing most nights, and this team has struggled scoring goals...something they have not done at all this season. You can argue if either should be in the lineup each night for Gionta, Carter and Bernier, but Pete feels that line brings something specific to the team. He isn't unlike other coaches who are going to ride with his vets who create "energy".

 

3) This team just isn't fun to watch

 

I think that is the nicest way of putting it. There was something to be said about playing the trap and having very few offensive stars, but doing that while WINNING. Fans of other teams could say "New Jersey is so boring". And you could always reply, I'll take the 3 Stanley Cup Championships any way I can" or "They don't ask how" or "fvck you, my team wins and yours doesn't, so shut the fvck up."

 

This year the team is boring to watch and they lose. You spend 3 hours watching hockey, and the feeling of a W would make you forget how ugly the game you were watching. Even last year, the team was dominating the play, getting good chances and just not finding a way to score. Now, it's just....blaa.  27th in scoring. 30th in shots per game. Shutout 48 times. 

 

Even though this team probably isn't missing Kovy so much, you miss a player like that. Someone with speed, a shot, a threat to fly down the ice (and lose the puck) and actually back a defender up. When Gelinas burst on the scene, you got some of that excitement, He was different, creative, constantly looking to make plays. Sure it was way too much, but it was a breath of fresh air. 

 

There is none of that right now. After the brutal Caps 3-0 loss, I was welcoming the break from wasting 3 hours of watching  Devils hockey a few nights a week. Sports are supposed to be fun and entertainment. This team has been none of that.

 

I guess that's a nice way of saying, "step up Ryder, Elias, Zajac, Henrique, Clowe, Brunner...etc" Feel free to put any of them on your list.

Edited by devilsrule33
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Good thread. I know I'm enjoying the Olympics right now. Its nice not to have to bang my head against the wall watching the Devils three or four nights a week for a couple of weeks lol.

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Good recap in general DR:

 

1) Larsson's injury was pure rotten luck. He was playing his best hockey of his career at the time. In terms of young defensemen, 22 and 5 were playing like our best pair, so Lou was true to his word. Unfortunately, things don't always work out the way you want them to and Larsson hasn't gotten another chance. However, Merrill has been very solid and will probably play at least 40 NHL games, as has Gelinas. Lou has followed through, just not the way fans have wanted

 

2) The young forwards are playing like..... young forwards. They have shown flashes, but haven't been consistent enough. A valid argument could be made that JJ and Loktionov haven't been given much of a chance, but they weren't exactly forcing Deboer's hand to stay in the lineup. Loved what I saw out of Boucher

 

3) Meh, this team just doesn't have much talent but are in every game. That's good enough for me

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Loktionov has been given a chance.  He's been unfairly taken out of the lineup at times (the Boucher-Loktionov-Sislo line was really, really good in the short time it was together), but he was in the lineup for the vast majority of the games to open the season.  He just wasn't doing enough with that time to stay in.

 

Josefson hasn't been given much of a chance but he's been unimpressive.  I'm hoping the deadline affords an opportunity for NJ to send Josefson and one of their D elsewhere and to get what they can back for them.  I think Josefson can have a long NHL career as a Sami Pahlsson type.  I'd gladly trade Josefson and a mid-grade D prospect for Brandon Pirri and see if each guy can get a shot.

 

Larsson I *think* is in the minors so he can keep playing through this break.  You have a guy who already had a long break in his season, if he had come back and stayed on the NHL roster he wasn't going to dress every game, then he'd be sitting for this break - means he still wouldn't get in an 82 game season or anything close.  Lou can't say anything about the defense like 'Larsson is in the minors because we want him to play during the Olympics'.

Edited by Triumph

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Good thread but I don't necessarily agree totally about the defensive "logjam". I honestly don't think Lou came into this season thinking he would need to find spots for gelinas AND Merrill. Salvador's injury plus their good play when they filled in brought that about. I don't think Lou ever intended to have those 2 and larsson on the ice at the same time. Not many teams (at least competitive ones) are icing 2 rookie defensemen, so I can't necessarily complain about that.

Larsson then getting injured has made it difficult to bring him back with the Olympic break and all. If we don't see larsson soon after the break then I would agree Lou messed up.

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I've been mostly disappointed by Zajac's offense.  I also expected more from Brunner as well.

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I feel like its the system when it comes to Brunner? I think he'd be better alongside a fast paced offensive system then ours.

I've been mostly disappointed by Zajac's offense. I also expected more from Brunner as well.

Edited by CarterforPresident

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I feel like its the system when it comes to Brunner? I think he'd be better alongside a fast paced offensive system then ours.

 

Yep! And sure enough he got 5 shots in his first game with team Switzerland...

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i dont know why but i like to watch this team play (their system) a LOTTTTT more than even the cup finals team. I mentioned it before too, during the cup run i was enjoying the wins but they we're playing such a boring systematic low risk hockey. Dump and chasing every single play or breaking out in the offensive zone always the same way.

 

The transition game is really the only difference now, the guys now are way more open in the neutral zone making cross passes and going through the middle, it's like they we're not allowed to do it before but that Deboer opened that or something. 

 

Plus having Jagr holding on to the puck trying to make plays is helping A LOT, guys would ALWAYS get rid of the puck before just to dump it in the corner so they can go have another board battle trying to get the puck back at the point. They'd ALWAYS get rid of the puck instead of holding on to it to get chances off the rush.

 

Also we have Dmen who can actually produce now

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I've been mostly disappointed by Zajac's offense.  I also expected more from Brunner as well.

 

Zajac has nine goals and 20 assists. He's not going to put up Joe Thornton-like numbers, but he's a plus 5 and doing his job.

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Zajac has nine goals and 20 assists. He's not going to put up Joe Thornton-like numbers, but he's a plus 5 and doing his job.

 

To bad he practically has a Joe Thornton contract. :P

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Agree with pretty much everything. If Lou trades an old d-man, I'm fine with the rest, but Larsson and Merrill need to be playing at this point.

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nice little summary ive been disappointed with several things but to start.. i expected more out of the additions we took on brunner is like a light switch when hes on he is ON and then when hes off he is totally off and for long periods of time.. henrique hasnt brought enough to the table either.. everyone really has slowed down around here hence our one goal games all the time... plenty of disappointments .. but to look on the brighter side if i had to pick one thing to be happy about this season it would be the addition of cory schneider except im a little upset with the way things are going and looking for brodeur but hopefully schneider resigns here if not ... well my god.

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Add to point 3 the large contribution by the new owners to the stale and lame atmosphere watching games.

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I agree completely on points 1 and 3. I don't like that the D logjam has lasted this long and I have to say this is probably the dullest team I've ever seen play. I've watched more exciting NBA D-League games than some of the Devils games this year. 

 

I agree on Tedenby but I'm a bit more lenient towards Josefson and Loktionov. I do agree with triumph's idea of trading Josefson + something to get a useful F prospect back.

 

Strangely the shootout losses don't really grind my gears a whole lot. Yeah it sucks but the idea of a shootout in hockey is still so ridiculous to me I can't even get worked up about it.

 

It's probably unfair for me to say but I'm disappointed in Ryder. Of course he's a streaky guy so this criticism isn't that fair but I was hoping for a bit more. Brunner has really disappointed me. Monster start then a huge fade. Guy gets decent minutes and doesn't do enough with them. There have been a handful of games this year where I forgot he was even on the team.

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Add to point 3 the large contribution by the new owners to the stale and lame atmosphere watching games.

 

What exactly have the owners done to kill the atmosphere?  I get they took away the goal song.  But how does that affect the cheering and clapping during the actual the actual game?  What exactly did the owners do?

 

The atmosphere is on the fans, not the owners.

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Agree wholeheartedly with Point 3.  This is not an easy to team to watch.  It seems like scoring is SUCH a challenge for them sometimes, compared to everyone else...too much so.

 

No one is asking Travis Zajac to be Joe Thornton, but how about just being Travis Zajac?  40-45 points is pretty disappointing from him, and I don't think Lou locked him up long-term hoping for season after season of that kind of production.  It'd be nice to see him put up 50+...I'm not asking for consistent 60+ seasons anymore. 

 

Ryder and Brunner are hard to take...the prolonged bouts of invisibility are brutal.  I guess it was to be expected in both players' cases, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating or easy to watch.

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Brunner has played way ether since his benching earlier on. DB made his point. Ryder is just so blah to me. Good hands/shot but doesn't do anything for me. never has.  

We didn't mind shoot outs when Parise/Kovy were here. Now, we've been so sh>tty on SO it's gotta go the other way.

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Brunner has played way ether since his benching earlier on. DB made his point. Ryder is just so blah to me. Good hands/shot but doesn't do anything for me. never has.  

We didn't mind shoot outs when Parise/Kovy were here. Now, we've been so sh>tty on SO it's gotta go the other way.

 

Brunner has disappeared again, unfortunately.  Seems to be the norm with him, so far in his NHL career.

 

I've always hated shootouts (even when the Devils were better at them than everyone else)...I just never had a problem with ties (I'd rather have them than a bogus "winner").  The reason I don't like them always goes back to the same thing:  if you have a on-ice deficiency on your team, you can take steps to improve it, but having good or bad shootout personnel comes down to pure luck and nothing more...some guys are very good at it, some aren't, and there's absolutely no rhyme or reason to who has good shootout skillsets.  Cory for his career is an OK puckstopper in shootouts, and right now the Devils don't have any great shooters.  Is Lou going to go out and trade for a goalie and shooters who happen to play really well in these?  Or is any other GM going to do that?  Of course not.   

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Not disappointed at all.  Considering the fluke that was 2012, which hurt our chances of getting a better draft pick.  Then losing our top 3 scorers.  Hell, I'm surprised when we score ANY goals.  The fact that we're around .500 (of course counting the OL as a tie)!!  I couldn't be happier.  I thought we would be like Buffalo this year.

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Not disappointed at all.  Considering the fluke that was 2012, which hurt our chances of getting a better draft pick.  Then losing our top 3 scorers.  Hell, I'm surprised when we score ANY goals.  The fact that we're around .500 (of course counting the OL as a tie)!!  I couldn't be happier.  I thought we would be like Buffalo this year.

Come on, the idea that we'd be Buffalo bad is insane.

 

Devils have an elite goalie and a defense that allows the least amount of shots in the league

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The thing is i don't think much of our players are underachieving. Goal scoring is really our only problem honestly. But just think of what each player should bring... based on average of their last seasons

 

Zajac 15

Elias 20

Ryder 25

Henrique 20-25

Zubrus 15

Brunner 20

Jagr 20-25

Clowe god knows...

Carter 5-10

Gionta 5-10

Bernier 5-10

Josefson 5 (and thats pushing)

Lotkionov 10

 

Merril 5

Gelinas 5

Zids 10

Salvador 1

Fayne 3

Volch 1

Green 5

Harrold 3

 

I mean... Thats what id consider a "decent" season from those guys.. but its simply not enough and no wonder we lose sooooo many close games. We're just scoring enough to survive. Most of our guys are 20 goals scorer top so that means they'll score once every 4 game (kind off) i know its more complicated than that and that it's all about the timing of the goals and all... but the whole problem is there

 

the last season we had success we had 3 30 goals scorers and another 20 goals scorer who left... some part of that scoring got replaced but a huge chunk still isnt

Edited by SterioDesign

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1 - Definitely is frustrating.  But it's just poor roster management and a refusal to scratch veteran players for whatever reason.  Honestly at this point I'm just assuming there's something going on behind the scenes that prevents players like Salvador and Zidlicky from being scratched.  Because the alternative (PDB being a stubborn piece of garbage) is too frustrating.  So, Salvador needs to play because reasons.

 

2 - Meh.  JJ can and will have an NHL career - I hope he's traded so he has a chance to prove himself somewhere else not under PDB.  Lokti hasn't shown much without Kovalchuk, and Tedenby is unfortunately garbage.  Still can't believe he was drafted over Carlson (but hindsight's always 20/20).  Just don't know why you'd take a small finesse player over a solid D man..ever.  Besides that, I just don't think Boucher's ready.  He'll get a look next year for sure.

 

3 - Absolutely agree.  Just..mind-numbingly boring at times.  I still watch obviously but..it makes the losses that much more frustrating (I WASTED THREE HOURS WATCHING THIS GARBAGE?)

 

My list of players I'm especially frustrated with, in no particular order:

 

- Zajac:  Looks like the Zajac we feared was real is, in fact, real.  As in, without a big producer on his wings, he's not going to put up points.  Solid defensively, but that contract is absurd for a 40 point center.

 

- Brunner & Ryder:  Combined because they're both equally as invisible when they're not 'on'.  I just don't think players like this are meant for PDB's system - I think they excel on the rush, which the Devils simply don't employ.  Blame it on the lack of speed, but this team isn't dangerous on the rush anymore..at all.

 

- Salvador & Volchenkov:  One of these two needs to go.  Salvador preferably. 

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How is Ryder a good player on the rush?  He's slow.  His skill is his shot, and he's been getting plenty of shots lately, they are just not going in.

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