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Lou's way of handling free agents


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#1 SterioDesign

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:19 AM

****** First Martyisth3b3st & Devil Dan 56 dont read further or you may get pissed or annoyed, i warned you guys ********

i see that other posters here share the same ideas and are also worrying, ( just like this guy below ) and i'm really concerned about our upcoming UFAs

The problem i have in this whole thing, after mulling it over for the better part of 8 hours is the way that Lou handles his free agents generally. Over the course of the last 10 years or so, I think the Devils more than any other team have had more high level free agents go to July 1. Lou plays with fire. Sometimes we get the guy, sometimes we lose the guy. In this case we lost. How many teams let there top players go to July 1? Name the last top Ranger to hit July 1, and if there is 1, there may not be more than 1. I just don't feel like the way we do business is generally the right way. We don't have the glam and glitz of some NHL cities, but we have a winning tradition which is tough to come by and a great selling point. I am just soured by the whole thing and i think this happens to the devils more often then any other team.

And yet we continue to have a successful team.... doesn't mean it feels good to constantly lose top flight players to free agency.

Everyone walks around like Lou's sh!t doesn't stink, and yeah it has it's share of ups and downs. For every John Madden there is an Ilkka Pikkarainen. For every Brian Rafalski or David Clarkson Signing, there is a McGillis/Malakhov overpayment. We've had some lean drafts over the course of the past 10 yrs, and just recently they appear to have gotten better. Lou gets a lot of credit for the 3 cups and the now 5 SC finals, but it's been a while since he's outsmarted or fleeced anyone in a trade.


Again I gotta say, i wouldn't want anyone else than Lou behind the Devils, he built this franchise and made some GREAT MOVES and i'm mostly behind him but he does thing a certain way with FA that i really really don't approve. So i'm not saying that he's bad... i'm saying that he could be better not being so stuck up and just do things his way. Plus i KNOW that through his career he kept more free agents than losing them. But he could have kept more by dealing with them differently thats for sure.

So in ZACH's case... it's a though one to analyze cause there was the ownership issue + Zach injury + it looks like Zach had it planned for longer than we t hought + im not entirely blaming Lou for losing Zach. But on the other hand it doesnt change anything cause it didnt change Lou's process at all and would have done it the same exact way... Lou approached Zach one week before the deadline both times. Both times people we're making excuses for Lou for the way it handled it saying he was going for the one year because of Zach's knee / ownership. Then it was reported that it was never brought up in discussions. ( Lou could have been lying about it i know...) but like i said... he ran out of time, admitted it and even without injury or the ownership problem... i'd put a LOT of money that it wouldnt have change a thing and that Zach would have reached arbitration and sign with the Wild anyway... Lou does thing that way... anyone denying this are simply kidding themselves.

Then i'm 100% against the "no negotiations during the season" ESPECIALLY if you wait one week before free agency. I'm absolutely not saying he should try to re-sign all the players during the season, absolutely not. But he should adjust his way for certain players. His stuck up way of waiting after the season MAY have cost us Zach and Niedermayer. I'm 110% sure that if both would have been approached at the right time with the right contract that they would have both retired in NJ. On one hand both left for family reasons but both times we came close to re-sign them and the family won, but only cause they were given the chance to make a choice. Im also aware that Lou (apparently offered Zach a contract and that his agent told him to wait for free agency, but thats a rumour. I dont take it for cash and then if he really did that, why did they tried to get something done before July 1st at all ?) I know agents will try to get their clients the best deal but if a deal is fair during the season but at the end of the day if the client really want to be part of the organization he will sign, unless he's super greedy (i dont think Nieds or zach are). Like i said in the other thread, im 100% sure Mike Richards and Jeff Carter could have got a lot more money if they would have wait after the season or just wait for free agency... yet somehow they signed... agents trying to tell them to wait or not. At that time they really wanted to be in Philly forever and Holmgren got a really good deal out of the 2. Lou could have done that with Zach and Nied at some time, why the fvck not ?

that will be it for now but im sure ill have a chance to speak my mind about others things on the subject based on what everyone think

but bottom line im really worried about Zajac, i can totally see Zajac not being approached at all one week before free agency with the Jets ready to make an offer. And its scaring the sh!t out of me. Lou has to realize that we're not that attractive anymore and that he can't continue to deal with free agents the way he is and that he should approach things differently...

*Cornyness Alert * it's basically like a guy trying to pick up girls at the bar... if you strictly and only act all badass / independent / macho all the time... yes you will get some girls that way. But you can't get them all that way, cause they are all different. Some other girls you have to work harder for them and approach them differently and play with their feelings to get what you want. Well its the same with free agents lol Lou is always going full macho.

Bottom line #2: Nobody is ever gonna convince me that Lou did "everything he possibly could" to re-sign Zach.
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#2 CarpathianForest

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:51 AM

You gotta take it easy, Man.
Lou approached Zach and Zach was advised not to sign and wait. If Zach had Minnesota in the back of his head, Lou approaching him would be nil. The fact that Lou didn't push Parise to sign is not a big deal. You gotta be a professional and going to a player on bended knee isn't exactly professional.
The problem with players walking away is because they're usually pretty talented. New Jersey, despite how we're treated, is an organization known around the league for developing and turning out strong talent. That's why you see players that aren't exactly elite like Gomez and Martin get big time offers from other teams.
You have to give Lou some credit: It's not like all of our big time players up and left at the first chance they got. Niedermayer, Rafalski and Gomez all left because of different reasons, not because Lou waited too long to negotiate with them. Those guys were going to split either way.
For every perceived "bad" move Lou makes in regards to not being able to retain players, he finds the Carters and Berniers.

Not re-signing Ponikarovsky is the only thing I fault Lou with.
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#3 SterioDesign

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:56 AM

Yes, like i said im not 100% against Lou's way but im against his "one and only way" to deal with every single situations... in short thats it. Im giving him lots of credits for all the players who drank the cool aid.

But he's putting himself in a corner doing this this way, i mean... yes his track record is good... for example we kept Elias... but Elias was given the chance to test the market and he COULD have went to the RANGERS... it went our way that time too but it was a big risk to let him test the market at all.

But i'm still really worried about Zajac.
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#4 CarpathianForest

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 01:00 AM

Yes, like i said im not 100% against Lou's way but im against his "one and only way" to deal with every single situations... in short thats it. Im giving him lots of credits for all the players who drank the cool aid.

But he's putting himself in a corner doing this this way, i mean... yes his track record is good... for example we kept Elias... but Elias was given the chance to test the market and he COULD have went to the RANGERS... it went our way that time too but it was a big risk to let him test the market at all.

But i'm still really worried about Zajac.


I think you're being a bit paranoid about Zajac. You really need to look at what other free agent centers are going to be available next season. One big reason Parise and Suter were so sought after was because the UFA market is pretty slim this off season.
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#5 SterioDesign

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 01:07 AM

I think you're being a bit paranoid about Zajac. You really need to look at what other free agent centers are going to be available next season. One big reason Parise and Suter were so sought after was because the UFA market is pretty slim this off season.


ah well im paranoid now for sure and can you blame me really? im absolutely not saying that it's gonna happen... but it definitely could. If we lost our homegrown Captain to free agency for the wild (which didnt even existed when he was born) we can definitely lose Zajac IF the Jets are knocking on July first... he was a big Jets fan when he was a kid and was devastated when they left.
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#6 Chimaira_Devil_#9

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 03:54 AM

As far as i can tell Lou has done nothing wrong here.

At the end of the day he cant force people to sign....... or can he........ :unsure:
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#7 skullsmasher

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:47 AM

He avoided signing a ridiculous contract. Parise is an overrated a$$hole and not worth all that money. Lou handled it well, he did what he could to sign him, but I'm sure we wouldn't be able to match that contract. It's 35 million in the next 3 years. Is Parise worth that? and then 9 million a season after that? Am I missing something? He's not THAT good.
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#8 Colorado Rockies 1976

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:11 AM

This really was one of those perfect storm-type scenarios. First, you have the knee injury, which probably made Lou's offer last summer more cautious...had Zach never gotten hurt and turned in a season similar to this one, Lou probably would've made a bigger offer last year, but even with a bigger offer, would have that convinced Zach to pass up what would've been his one and only opportunity to become an UFA? At any rate, I don't blame Lou for not opening up the vaults at this time last year.

As for what happened the past season, seems like Zach had decided he was going to test the market, but was definitely open to returning to the Devils. It turned out that there was one team that could offer some things that Lou couldn't: the chance to play where he grew up and the chance to play with Suter, and Zach wouldn't even have to worry about taking less money to have those things. It just so happened that a 100% perfect place for Zach to play (in his mind) materialized. And even THEN he was clearly torn as to what to do, which gives you an idea that playing for the Devils and Lou really meant something to him.

As far as past free agents go, Nieds went to play with his brother, and took less money to do it. I remember seemingly everyone at the time bitching about Rafalski's penchant for shooting the puck into opponents' skates just before he left, so I was surprised at some of the outcry when he moved on, but again, got big money and a chance to go home...so be it. As for some of the others (Gio, Gomez, Martin), they weren't worth what they got, and I was fine with them moving on.

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976, 05 July 2012 - 06:14 AM.

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#9 DaneykoIsGod

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:48 AM

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way Lou handled this.
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#10 Colorado Rockies 1976

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:53 AM

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way Lou handled this.


Agreed 1000%.
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THE NHL MUST LOVE THE DEVILS - from who else? A RANGER fan!
[Mark Messier]: A big, bald attention whore with a stupid Easter Island-lookin face. - from who else? DaneykoIsGod!

Even when Marty comes back maybe Larry should put Clemmensen to be on the goal during the shootouts.
Can the coach do that ? Switch the goalies 5 seconds to go in overtime?
- Most priceless quote ever posted on a message board.

Martin Brodeur: THE MOST ALL-TIME WINS!, 12 straight seasons of 30+ wins, 3 Stanley Cups, 4 Vezina Trophies, and zero respect from too many so-called Devils "fans" who are either too young or too bandwagon to remember the much darker days of Sean Burke, Craig Billington, Bob Sauve, Alain Chevrier, and the talented but overwhelmed Chico Resch, among many others.

It's easy to support a great player when he's playing at his very best. It takes a true fan to support that same player during those rare moments and stretches when he's not. Babe Ruth went 0-4 some games, and sometimes Wayne Gretzky was held pointless. There may be such a thing as greatness, but no such thing as absolute perfection every single night.

#30 FOREVER!

20 out of 1,946 njdevs.com members agree: CR1976 is the Most Knowledgable Poster of 2008! Victory is mine...oh yes, victory is mine!

#11 NJDevs4978

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:58 AM

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way Lou handled this.


Except for the fact that not giving up the first-round pick looks doubly bad now :P
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#12 DaneykoIsGod

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:02 AM

Except for the fact that not giving up the first-round pick looks doubly bad now :P


Keeping that pick got Stephane Matteau to put on a Devils hat and say that winning the Cup in '94 wasn't as good as hearing Louie Lams call his son's name. That's better than anything a lot of our first-rounders have given Devils fans.
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#13 third man in

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:24 AM

I have never negotiated with Lou so I cannot comment on this..but I'd like to think he knows what he's doing.

Every FA that left us besides Niedermayer has made a mistake...Scott was the only one to leave and then go win again. Yes, others got nice pay days but that's about it. Devils hockey existed before Zach and it'll continue to thrive without him...we move forward.
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#14 NJDevs4978

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:24 AM

I have never negotiated with Lou so I cannot comment on this..but I'd like to think he knows what he's doing.

Every FA that left us besides Niedermayer has made a mistake...Scott was the only one to leave and then go win again. Yes, others got nice pay days but that's about it. Devils hockey existed before Zach and it'll continue to thrive without him...we move forward.


Ironically Nieds was the only one to take less money to leave. Draw from that what you will :whistling:
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The New Jersey Devils win Stanley Cups everywhere:
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-NHL record for most home wins in the playoffs - 12-1 in '03

#15 Colorado Rockies 1976

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:29 AM

I have never negotiated with Lou so I cannot comment on this..but I'd like to think he knows what he's doing.

Every FA that left us besides Niedermayer has made a mistake...Scott was the only one to leave and then go win again. Yes, others got nice pay days but that's about it. Devils hockey existed before Zach and it'll continue to thrive without him...we move forward.


Worked out pretty well for Rafalski. But I didn't blame Lou one bit for not bringing him back.
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THE NHL MUST LOVE THE DEVILS - from who else? A RANGER fan!
[Mark Messier]: A big, bald attention whore with a stupid Easter Island-lookin face. - from who else? DaneykoIsGod!

Even when Marty comes back maybe Larry should put Clemmensen to be on the goal during the shootouts.
Can the coach do that ? Switch the goalies 5 seconds to go in overtime?
- Most priceless quote ever posted on a message board.

Martin Brodeur: THE MOST ALL-TIME WINS!, 12 straight seasons of 30+ wins, 3 Stanley Cups, 4 Vezina Trophies, and zero respect from too many so-called Devils "fans" who are either too young or too bandwagon to remember the much darker days of Sean Burke, Craig Billington, Bob Sauve, Alain Chevrier, and the talented but overwhelmed Chico Resch, among many others.

It's easy to support a great player when he's playing at his very best. It takes a true fan to support that same player during those rare moments and stretches when he's not. Babe Ruth went 0-4 some games, and sometimes Wayne Gretzky was held pointless. There may be such a thing as greatness, but no such thing as absolute perfection every single night.

#30 FOREVER!

20 out of 1,946 njdevs.com members agree: CR1976 is the Most Knowledgable Poster of 2008! Victory is mine...oh yes, victory is mine!

#16 third man in

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:44 AM

Worked out pretty well for Rafalski. But I didn't blame Lou one bit for not bringing him back.


Yes...him too, how quickly I forget.

I just don't see this working out too well for Zach hockey wise but who knows...I could be wrong.

No complaints how he handled this though...I do agree we should look to lock in Zajac and Henrique ASAP though.
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#17 DevsMan84

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:11 AM

Keeping that pick got Stephane Matteau to put on a Devils hat and say that winning the Cup in '94 wasn't as good as hearing Louie Lams call his son's name. That's better than anything a lot of our first-rounders have given Devils fans.



Just to completely troll the sh!t out of Rags fans with that pick was well worth it IMO.

But I really do think Lou tried his best and the fact is he could not turn NJ into Minnesota. Maybe Lou could have done more last year or the year before, but there was more uncertainty with ownership than I think this summer as it appears JVB might have found a way to keep the team afloat and the questions about Zachs's knee.

I'm already moved on from Zach
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#18 Mitico12

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:26 AM

Well, the biggest impact (other than technical, on-the-ice repercussions this defection of Parise will have) will be on the "commercial side" of the business. I assume that 1 in 3 or half of the fans that purchased NJ Devils jerseys in the last 5 years chose Parise. That's a lot of money to lose going forward if people were intent on buying more.

However, with every door that closes, another one opens, and therefore, Henrique will start the new "boom" in NJD jersey sales...

Lou did what he could. The only thing "maybe" he could have done better is to have gotten ahead of the game and sign Parise to an extension at the end of last season (this so that Minnesota was NOT an option).

But, bye-gons are bye-gons, and now we have to go and explore what talent might be able to fill the gap...
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#19 Jerzey Devil

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:30 AM

Zach and his agents played Lou. Not exactly his fault.

Looking back, the only thing Lou could have done differently was trade Zach when he signed the 1 year deal last year. That way it wouldn't have been a complete loss but I'm sure Lou assumed and was told by Zach that he was going to come back.
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#20 CMONPETEYD

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:31 AM

Lou gets passes way to often.
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