now, i'm assuming you're on the same wavelength i was when i wrote this and that i was referring to the summer of 2012 after the cup run. that's why my response to your staement is:
how quickly you forget - you're missing a defenseman on that list (2 actually) that we both penciled in as we expected another idiot GM to overpay for salvador instead of our own. neither gelinas or merrill were a twinkle in our eye.
now if you're going to say that the devils would not buy out salvador instead of volchenkov last week because they don't want THIS year's 6D to be what you've said, my argument would still say that they're better with anton than they are with sal next year, but i agree that the devils obviously don't feel that way (and have valued sal over anton always).
Hard to know if that was only predicated on Salvador being given the captaincy. It was clear for a lot of last season that the Devils needed to sit one of the two to get some offense from Gelinas. We always knew it was not going to be Salvador. It kind of snowballs from there where you give someone the captaincy, you speak glowingly of them, you never scratch them and all of a sudden you start believing they are that good just because he has a letter on his chest, and it isn't even in the thought process to scratch him.
I think that's where the Devils are with Salvador. But Lou has always been a major fan. Even before the contract was given out, I was pretty positive he'd be brought back due to the way Lou talked about Bryce. It really stood out. Everything from his comeback, the work he put in, the leadership, etc. The fluke offensive playoff run was the clincher to really raise his market value up. You'll hear coaches and GMs talk about how important the Bryce Salvador's of the worlds are when you sign a contract like that. Don't think we've seen it.
"The Stanley Cup has fallen from the Stars. The new millennium has its first Stanley Cup Champion, and it's the New Jersey Devils." Mike Miller calling the Devils winning the Stanley Cup.
"It goes to the captain and then there are handoffs during a skate around the ice" Mike Emrick as Scott Stevens is being presented the Stanley Cup.