While I agree with you Tri that the Devils went through a brutal drafting period, that's on the same front office that I'm damning.
But that was because the Devils were too busy winning championships. Why did they not have a 1st round pick in 2002? They dealt it to Dallas in the Arnott deal. What happened to all their picks in 2004? They traded up for Zajac and had dealt for Viktor Kozlov and Jan Hrdina.
Drafting is hard. Drafting was especially hard during that period - it's not like anyone besides Detroit or people drafting at the top of the draft really did well. Let's look at the teams that did great in the late 90s, early 2000s. Detroit, New Jersey, Dallas, St. Louis, Colorado, Philadelphia. Is that a fair assessment of the league's elite? What has happened to them in the ten or so years since that time? Detroit has stayed on top. Good for them. New Jersey has only missed the playoffs once. St. Louis has made the playoffs one time post-lockout, and they got swept. Colorado has won two rounds since the lockout, and has drafted in the top 5 of the entry draft twice. They last played in the NHL Cup Finals 10 years ago, and they picked #2 overall this past season. Dallas has won 2 rounds, but they have missed the playoffs the last 3 years, and are not getting better. Philadelphia has only missed the playoffs once, but they, like the Devils had an utter disaster of a season when they did. Lou rebuilt the team between 1995 and 2000. He rebuilt the team between 2003 and 2007. And now he's rebuilt the team again - the players who've won a playoff round as a Devil? Elias, Parise, Zajac, Brodeur, Greene, Clarkson.
Let us not forget all the disastrous free agent signings that are also on them.
Disastrous free agent signings happen when you can't develop players. Lou didn't help himself by piling mistakes on top of mistakes, but when you don't have players ready for the NHL, you don't have a choice - you don't have any trade assets, so you can't take that route, and you can't just start sucking, because those teams were very good. They had Parise and Elias, two top players. Brodeur was one of the top goalies in the league and he was playing nearly every game.
Other than possibly Elias, he's the best forward this team has ever drafted. Parise should consistently be in the "top 5" conversation now and through his prime. He's that good. Losing him would be disastrous, and more than just "5 wins per year."
I doubt very much that Parise is worth more than 6 wins over replacement. He's a great player, and losing him would be a giant blow. But the team has a bright future and can still do a lot of great things without him. Like 731 said, you have to pay Parise. I would expect his contract to be a value contract, but not a huge value.
Edited by Triumph, 22 September 2011 - 07:46 PM.