Parise- He gave every indication that he would stay if we fielded a competitive offer. ZP and Lou both said NJ's offer was right around where Minnesota's was. I, and many others believe that the reason he chose Minny is because he got the lockout guaranteed signing bonus. There is no way, with the state of our finances back then, we could have given him millions of guaranteed money without games. I mean, I guess Lou could've locked up ZP after his knee injury, but that would've been a gamble for obvious reasons and we don't know what JVB's checkbook looked like (Hint: probably not pretty)
Kovalchuk- JVB obviously drove the bus with that one. Lou fleeced Waddell and even got the pick that landed us Merrill (RIP). The contract was lunacy, but once again, I wouldn't doubt that JVB told Lou to get it done, no questions asked. I will blame Lou with how he handled the rejected contract and basically challenged the NHL. However, all bias aside, the punishment did not fit the crime. Now here's the real question- how would y'all have handled Kovy's request to go back home? You can: A) keep a disgruntled player here who clearly wasn't giving it his all last season B) let him go and and gain instant/future cap flexibility or C) collude with Kovalchuk to let him go back so that a potential sale would go more swimingly. Not going to blame Lou there
Lesser UFA's leaving (Martin, Gionta, Clarkson)- Martin would be nice to have, but not necessary as shown by the 2012 run. Gionta is pretty meh and Clarkson's contract just reeks. Martin is the only one who probably got a fair contract. My memory is pretty hazy, but I believe is was pretty set on leaving anyway.
29th Pick- Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh
Recent UFA Aquisitions (Ryder, Clowe, Brunner, Jagr, Olesz)-
Goodness that Clowe contract is awful but he is far from a useless player. He has much better playmaking abilities than Clarkson. Still, his contract is about 2 years too long and is 2 million overpaid per year.
Ryder and Brunner are decent offensive pieces, though are far from core players. They need to be put in the right situation to succeed and I'm not sure NJ has the right personnel to do that. Not bad gambles though
Jagr- Great move and can be traded at the deadline if need be
Olesz- Low risk, medium reward. No problem here
Recent Trades of Note:
Tallinder for Useless Minor Leaguer- Obvious roster dump, but he's certainly missed. Easiest guy to move and I remember most of NJDevs praised the trade so Larsson and younger players would have room
Loktionov for 5th Round Pick- Brilliant move, even if Loktionov has been underwhelming this season. Like I said earlier, this is the kind of thing Lou needs to pull off in order to give our offense new, young blood. Grigorenko, perhaps?
Schneider for 9th overall- Another no brainer. Re-signing him will be a different matter though
Re-signing of players since '12-
Travis Zajac- Length is fine, probably a bit overpaid but I think these last two games kind of prove how important he is. Does it all, although you feel he could do more offensively. Absolutely necessary to lock him up
Patrik Elias- You give the man anything he wants. Still a fantastic player even if the 3rd year could be ugly
Zubrus- Looks done to be honest. Early returns aren't flattering and it won't be getting any better
Bryce Salvador- Was ready to kick him to the curb after last season, but has rebounded nicely. Still don't like the contract, but whatever
Adam Henrique- Getting paid a million too much but another necessary move. Locks up some UFA years to boot
Mark Fayne- Another good move. Wish Deboer liked him more
Zidlicky- One year, so not a big deal. Can flip him at the deadline if it comes to that
I ask everyone here: what could Lou have done differently personnel wise? The only thing I could think of is maybe take a flier on Semin, but he was coming off a putrid year in Washington. The losses of Parise and Kovy weren't his fault. The Schneider trade was larssony (heh). Some of the newer contracts stink but every GM makes those sort of mistakes. With Brodeur, Zids and Jagr gone, there will be a ton of space to make changes.