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Member Since 08 Sep 2002
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Topics I've Started

The Devils' Right Wing Issue

19 November 2014 - 12:27 PM

The Devils have a lot of problems right now, but I'd like to focus on just one because I think it's the most fixable.


The Devils have used 7 right wings so far this season: Jaromir Jagr, Martin Havlat, Michael Ryder, Damien Brunner, Jordin Tootoo, Steve Bernier, Mike Sislo, and Stephen Gionta.  Of these, the first 5 are UFA next year.  In addition, the Devils really have nothing at the minor league level at RW - they have Mike Sislo, who looks like a competent NHLer, but he's not going to be the kind of guy who wins and loses games for you.  So right wing is really a position they need to upgrade, and they need to be able to get young, cheap talent at RW, because clearly they are going to have to have some old, expensive talent at that position as well.


In addition, I think Damon Severson's emergence is obviating the need for Eric Gelinas.  I like Gelinas's skill set a lot but so far he is a disaster at even strength.  With Hraberenka and Scarlett potentially having some of those skills behind him and Severson already jumping ahead of him in terms of PP responsibility, the Devils can potentially sell high-ish on Gelinas while the league hasn't figured it out.  I don't like giving up on him, but I don't see many alternatives right now.


Let's look at the UFAs at that position this coming off-season, other than the guys I already mentioned - and here I am only considering right-shooting right wings:


Justin Williams

Drew Stafford

Joel Ward

Steve Downie

Mike Santorelli (C/RW)

Blake Comeau

Tyler Kennedy


So that looks rather unpleasant also.  


There are some more veteran RWs I might be interested in, but the guys I would like the Devils to investigate are:


C/RW Mika Zibanejad (OTT):  Zibanejad has gotten off to a slow start in Ottawa.  He's being used at center but his shot rate is way down so far this year and he's got players like Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, and Curtis Lazar coming up behind him.  Ottawa is desperate for defense - I wonder if they'd be interested in either Adam Larsson or Eric Gelinas in exchange for Zibanejad.  


RW Jeremy Morin (CHI): I have absolutely no clue what Chicago would want for Jeremy Morin, but this guy generates all kinds of shots.  If they wanted to trade Kris Versteeg I'd be interested in that too.  I might deal Merrill for Morin and something extra - Chicago has Glendening for their offensive needs, but with Oduya probable to leave and Hjalmarsson starting to perhaps age into the unpleasant part of a defensive D's career, they may need someone like this.


RW Kyle Palmieri (ANA):  He turns 24 this year and has never really gotten his shot at regular time on Anaheim.  I don't know what Anaheim needs - quite possibly nothing, so this may be moot - but whatever it is, I'd like to snag him.  I know he was a Rangers fan growing up but so was Santini.  I might be willing to go something like Jagr and a 4th round pick for Palmieri later in the year if the team continues on its current trajectory.  I might trade Boucher for Palmieri and a 3rd round pick but that's the kind of deal that's unlikely to go down.


Those are just 3 guys - there's others, but these players don't seem to grow on trees and the Devils just don't have one in their system - they have too many players who shoot left-handed.  They need a young guy who has plenty of RFA time left.

Devils re-assign Boucher; Albany Devils sign Mark Fraser

02 November 2014 - 11:51 PM

Thought this was big enough to demand its own topic - Fraser played almost 100 games for NJ, he's not some total nobody.  Albany seems to have plenty of D bodies right now so it's unclear whether it's a favor to Fraser or the possible precursor to other moves.


TG suggests that Tootoo or Havlat (or both) will be ready to come back on Tuesday, hence the demotion of Boucher - I am curious what'll happen if it's only Tootoo.

The Devils' Power Play So Far

23 October 2014 - 11:08 AM

Since this forum is mostly bellyaching all the time, I figured I'd single out one positive so far in the Devils' season - how the power play has looked.  I don't think I've seen one person note here how it's changed - the Devils have stopped dumping the puck in on the power play, for the most part.  I'm too lazy to find a screen shot of what's going on, but one guy is coming up one side of the ice with the puck, and if the defenders cheat too much to his side (which they almost inevitably will), that guy will pass the puck diagonally back to a trailer on the other side of the ice who can now take advantage of the PKers cheating on the first guy.   He gains the zone and the PP sets itself up. 


They're not perfect with it yet and I'm curious to see how defenses will adapt to this - if they go too aggressive to take away the pass, the first guy will gain the zone anyway, but it could result in some serious chances against too.  

All Aboard The Severson Train

14 October 2014 - 11:46 PM

It's only been 3 games, and it's going to be a long road ahead, but Damon Severson has the potential to be a star in this league.  And without injury he's at least going to be a pretty good player.


There's his skating - he skates very well, straight ahead, backwards, and his lateral movement is terrific.


There's his passing - he has made several very impressive passes already.  He is not afraid of the high risk play.


In the offensive zone - while he's favored the shot a lot more than the pass, his ability to move the puck on the power play has been quite excellent - he's not wondering about where the puck should go when he gets it, he already has an idea of where it's got to go.


In the defensive zone without the puck - we haven't seen a ton of this, but I've liked his 1 on 1 defense along the boards and on puck carriers.  Obviously it's really early to start saying much about this - we saw how Gelinas progressed from 'he's decent' to 'oh god he's awful' over the course of a season.


We haven't seen much of him pinching in or how he defends 2 on 1s or a lot of critical aspects to playing defense yet, but in the aspects we have seen, he's earning the trust of the coaching staff.  So yeah, hop on board - the Devils haven't had a guy show this much promise at this age in a long time.

Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts - Big Section On Brodeur 10/8

08 October 2014 - 12:13 PM

Everyone should be reading this column every week, it's really the best column in hockey:




Also some quotes from Mike Cammalleri.