Posted 06 July 2008 - 10:58 PM
I for one am excited to see what this team can do next year. Did we get that puck-moving defenseman that I wanted? No. But we did make some other changes that I think will help, and there's still the possibility that more will happen before all is said and done (Jason Smith is out there as a defensive defenseman, just a thought).
But I absolutely believe Rolston has another few good years in him, so I completely disagree with the nay-sayers on this board calling him a has-been. He is a 30 goal/60 point scorer, and I think if NJ intends to use him as a first line pivot, as I read in one post, he could do more than that.
That's a pretty solid forward lineup. The first line will do some damage, as well as the 2nd (with Parise's continued development, and a rebound year from Zajac).
In terms of 3rd lines, you don't get much better than Madden/Pando, taking into account Madden's newfound interest in goalscoring, and again, with a potential rebound year fro Zubrus, he could add a new element to this club.
Holik is great at faceoffs, and maybe centering a youthful line will actually give us a 4th line that we can play regularly and not worry about, seeing how Holik is a responsible defensive pivot.
I'm excited about the forward lines, and remember, we had a pretty good regular season this past year, except for our sputter in the stretch run. I think the new lineup gives us more stability, and I do think we'll have a decent season.
The defense is much the same, and Salvador is signed. All we can hope is that Martin/Oduya continue to impress and develop, and continue to attempt to bring an offensive game while White, Salvador, Vishnevsky, and Greene hold up through the season and can hold the fort in front of Marty. I wouldn't mind Jason Smith in place of Greene, which could be a real possibility, and of course, I'd love to see a Bouwmeester trade, but I think that's a pipe dream. You never know though.
I don't think Lou is delusional, I just think he sees what happened last year - we had a pretty decent year for what we had, and we really picked a bad time to falter. Now, we have a few new/used parts that can help, and hopefully some players take a step forward. It's very easy to imagine a highly successful NJ team if Zajac scores 50 pts, Parise scores 80, Zubrus scores 50, Martin scores 45, etc, which are not completely unrealistic goals or anything.
Let's see what happens.
The Rangers have made some interesting moves, yes, but they also got rid of Shanny, Jagr, and Avery - 3 big puzzle pieces and 3 big chemistry pieces. Redden isn't worth 6.5 and may no longer be a first pair d-man. Naslund I think can pot 60 pts, but he's hot and cold and may not be their answer. Zherdev I think was their best move, in terms of what he may have the potential to do if put in the right situation. But here you see the difference in organizational philosophies in these teams--NY brings in people in droves, seeing what happens, and NJ is more calculated in their approach. The Rags beat us last year, so take it for what it's worth, but NJ is always a long-term experiment in winning the cup every single season, and I don't think it's fair to say that Lou doesn't "get it" anymore. We've made the playoffs every year since the new-era NHL, meaning, every year a chance to compete for Lord Stanley's Cup.
Let's give it some time before we call him a bad GM, the man who got us 3 stanley cup teams over 9 years, and 1 stanley cup final. I still believe NJ will make at least one more cup run (win or lose I can't say) while Brodeur is under contract, and I do believe we have the talent to do it this year if things fall together just right--just as it is with any team in this league--in large part due to chemistry and gelling at the right time of the season.