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.