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, 13 February 2014 - 10:38 PM.