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If the Kurvers for Niedermayer Trade Never Happened

Yesterday, 12:25 PM

I could have went super click baity on this one, but chose not to.


Fun read on Grantland on this 'One Deal, One Million Repercussions'



If you know any Maple Leafs fans, you may have noticed that they’ve been even crankier than usual over the past few days. That’s because last week marked the 25th anniversary of one of the worst trades in the history of hockey: the Tom Kurvers deal.


The notorious trade went down on October 16, 1989, and saw New Jersey send Kurvers to Toronto in exchange for a first-round pick in the 1991 draft. Kurvers was a decent enough offensive defenseman, but the Maple Leafs were terrible, and the pick ended up being third overall. The Devils used it to select Scott Niedermayer, and the rest is history.

All of that makes the deal bad enough, but it may have actually been even worse. The Leafs nearly finished dead last in 1990-91, which would have given the Devils the first overall pick. And they would have used that pick on arguably the most heavily hyped prospect the league had ever seen: Eric Lindros, a junior powerhouse who was considered a sure thing to become the next Gretzky or Lemieux.



2014-2015 Lineup Thread

20 October 2014 - 10:40 AM

Since last years was so popular....Once again a thread to discuss practice lines, game-day lineups, scratches, potential call-ups, waivers, etc. Basically a thread to bitch. 


To start it off:


Tom Gulitti ‏@TGfireandice  1m

Devs' lines today: Zubrus-Zajac-Jagr; Cammalleri-Elias-Havlat; Clowe-Henrique-Ryder; Brunner-Gionta-Tootoo; Ruutu-Gomez-Josefson.

30 Thoughts: Devils Edition

08 October 2014 - 12:12 AM

I'm not Elliotte Friedman. This might be the dumbest thing I've ever done, but here it is: The longest post in NJDevs.com In honour of the best hockey column, here are my 30 thoughts - Devils Edition, before the 2014-2015 season. Can't blame anyone if they don't want to read 10 thoughts let alone 30...


30 Thoughts:

  1. Lot of talk this pre-season about the amount of competition up front, but as camp went on, it turned out it was just that, talk. Two guys who had excellent camps, Brunner and Boucher, never really had a good shot at entering the top 9 once Clowe returned. That’s pretty disappointing, and in the end the competition boiled down to see who would be the 4th line energy forward and a battle for an extra forward. That’s a failure by the coaching staff for being so gung-ho about certain spots like Zubrus on the second line and Gionta on the 4th, but also the GM for failing to create much roster flexibility up front.

  1. The combo of Zubrus-Elias-Havlat was clearly a line Deboer had envisioned since the signing of Havlat. Elias and Zubrus have played quite a bit together. To a lesser extent Elias and Havlat have as well. Elias also likes playing with Zubrus, and Deboer has always respected Elias' opinion and thoughts.

Deboer specifically mentioned the chemistry in 2012 of those two along with Sykora. The problem is that was 3 seasons ago. Elias is 38 and Zubrus is 36. I've gone easy on Deboer here, but it absolutely shocks me that Pete would come to camp with that line in his mind and not even try another winger on it. Zubrus, after all, is coming off of a dreadful season that saw him put up 5 goals and 2 assists in the last 41 games.

One those spots that absolutely should have been up for grabs was Zubrus spot, not only in the top 6, but in the top 9.

  1. Different line combinations I have in mind as the season begins that took into account camp play:: Cammalleri-Zajac-Jagr, Clowe-Elias-Havlat, Boucher/Brunner-Henrique-Ryder, Ruutu-Gionta-Zubrus   or  Cammalleri-Zajac-Jagr, Boucher-Elias-Havlat, Clowe-Henrique-Ryder, Ruutu-Zubrus-Tootoo.

  1. You know who had a quiet camp. Tuomo Ruutu (making a hair under $5 million. The Devils are only paying $3.85 million of that. I hated the Ruutu deal the day it happened, but I think I hate it even more today. The deal becomes more unneccessary when Zubrus is still ahead of him in the depth chart. That can all change of course, but it’s kind of odd that he never got a look in the top 9 during camp. Tuomo was certainly going to be bought out in the off-season by the Canes if not traded. Could NJ have signed him for a cheaper contract if that was the case? I could easily see the Devils doing the buying out after this season.

  1. Even though, I don’t like his current spot on the depth chart, I still wanted to note that Danius Zubrus has carved out an excellent NHL career. Few players have had a more unassuming career than Zubrus (1169 GP at 36 years of age). If he’s never been on your team, he’s the kind of guy you go, “Danius Zubrus has been around that long?” That’s what happens when you begin a career at a young age, don’t put up many points, and don’t play a significant role for a very successful NHL franchise.

  1. Only 82 forwards in NHL history have played more games than Zubrus. Yes, the eras have a ton to do with it, but of those 82 only five have averaged less career PPG (Radek Dvorak, Kelly Buchberger, Eric Nesterenko, Todd Marchant, Ron Stewart)

  1. Damon Severson surprised many by making the team. This certainly complicates a position that seemed to be very straightforward a few weeks ago. If all the decision makers felt Severson had a camp as strong as Larsson’s or Gelinas’, I can’t fault that although it makes things a little cumbersome.

  1. From the last practice, it looks like Greene and Severson will be a pairing leaving Larsson and Gelinas jockeying to play with Merrill. There’s been reports that both players were unhappy about being scratched (shocker). If it continues throughout the season, expect one of them to want out sooner than later

  1. You never hope for injuries, but any chance to get all 4 in the lineup, may not be a bad thing at all. Tri mentioned today that Gelinas and Merrill were not even in the top 7 last season, and they ended up playing 60 and 52 games respectively. On the down side, a pretty healthy defensive core in 2013 never sorted out any problems.

  1. Anyone think that if all of the young defenseman acclimate  themselves during the season, Zidlicky could be moved before the season’s end? Just how young will Lou go?

  1. A lot of eyes will be on Deboer early this season. Miss the playoffs or start off slow, and you just might see him fired. Some fans have hoped that he’d be canned after last season and have been wondering why he has gotten a longer leash than past coaches. It’s a fair question, but one that I think I can answer:

  1. Lou might say the goal is to win the Stanley Cup each season, and anything else is a disappointment, but there is a difference between saying it and believing it. As the Devils have missed the playoffs, the last two seasons, I highly doubt Lou thought this team was a Cup contender. If he did, that surely changed as the season went on. That’s a big difference from any other team since 1994 - 2012 when the Devils had a combination of excellent goaltending, HOF defense and a better offensive group of forwards.

  1. Over the last two years, the team has been in a funk scoring wise. They’ve gotten bad goaltending, bad breaks, but there has never been really poor stretches of play. There have been very few stinkers sprinkled in. Ugly final results but no ugly stretches of play like say in 01-02, 05, 09, 10 or 11. Fans have been left saying same old story, but that story never included being outworked and outplayed on a regular basis. The team plays hard and true to the system on almost every night


  1. A few have said that there have been too many excuses for Deboer, and it’s time to put up or shut up. That’s fine. If the team misses the playoffs, Deboer should go, but I’m of the firm belief that Lou should be let go with him if this team misses the playoffs this year.

  1. Do I think it could/would happen? Not really. Ownership would be in a tricky position if it ever felt it had to fire Lou. The average fan doesn’t seem to ever want to blame Lou, and even if they do, would they want owners to go to the drastic measure of firing Lou. If that average fan can connect the dots that the team is struggling due to years of mistakes by Lou and his staff, it’s possible. I’m willing to bet that isn’t the case.

For starters, it would mean the team is doing very poorly and attendance would be free-falling. Firing Lou would probably add insult to injury. Lou is not simply a GM, a President, a CEO. He brought great success and 3 Stanley Cups to fans of NJ. He is as much the face of the franchise as any player ever was. I’m not so sure any coach/executive in sports can say that other than Bill Belichick in NE. The backlash could be too much. Firing Lou would be their biggest obstacle yet from a PR standpoint regardless if it is the right move or not. Being known as the owners who fired Lou? Good luck overcoming that. Early retirement though?

  1. Even if the owners were ready to wave that storm the day they wanted to pull the trigger, who is going to advise them on that decision? Unlike most teams, there isn’t a liaison from Owner to GM. They are new to the sport, so it would be tough for to fire someone who is perceived as an all-time great hockey executive.

  1. Lou’s biggest fault: Their drafts overseen by Conte. They’ve done a good job at drafting defensemen but have been  rather abysmal at drafting any NHL forwards. Since the 1999 NHL draft, the Devils have only drafted 8 forwards with two seasons worth of games: Parise, Zajac, Henrique, Rupp, Janssen, Bergfors, Voros and Halischuk. That’s two 1st round picks, two 4th liners, and two players that didn’t even make it to 200 games before their NHL careers ended.

  1. What does that mean then? Usually it means over reliance on free agency, which basically means overpaying players after their best years. The Clowe that the Devils saw last year, might be him at his best. Mike Cammalleri starts his 5-year contract at 32. Or without any real assets, it means giving up little to take other team’s problems off their hands (Tuomo Ruutu).

  1. Hard to imagine what will happen in 2-3 years from now. What’s the plan to replace Elias and Jagr? Hard to get 60-70 point players in free agency without breaking the bank.

  1. And thank goodness that no other GM was willing to give Jagr a top 6 role other than the Devils (possibly only after Kovalchuk left). Where would the Devils be without him? Jagr’s 2013-2014 season was 6th greatest season points wise in NHL history for a player 40 and over.

  1. From I’m sure this happens all the time files. The Devils escaped a potential disaster in the Kovalchuk trade. Apparently, the deal was held up to the Thrashers insistence that Patrice Cormier was included in the trade. Lou offered other second tier prospects like Nick Palmieri and Adam Henrique. No and no. Cormier it had to be.

  1. Another one? The Leafs wanted a prospect rather than a draft pick when trading Ken Klee at the 2006 deadline. Make your pick Toronto: David Clarkson or Alexander Suglobov? Former Leafs exec Shawn Simpson likes telling that story when explaining why he is no longer in hockey.

  1. Speaking of the Leafs, Brian Burke was vehemently against taking one step back to take two steps forward as GM of the Leafs. He was incredibly aggressive in fixing their horrible forward situation.  

It looks more and more like NJ will have to follow Burke’s strategy and improve their forward core via trade. Not expecting any of their defensemen to fetch JVR like player, and if there is one that could, would Lou pull the trigger? The Devils under Lou have always been about building from the net out.

  1. Which defenseman to deal will probably be the toughest decision for the Devils GM. The one they feel the most comfortable dealing might not be the one to net them much. What is Larsson or Gelinas worth around the league right now? Whatever it is, their value will only suffer if one or the other finds themselves scratched frequently throughout the season.

  1. Another fault of the Devils under Lou: What seems like their non-existent pro-scouting department. Go after an ex-Devil or rely on the advice of Pete Deboer and Jacques Lemaire.

  1. Even if you want to argue that they have knowledgeable pro scouts or enough people around him, Lou doesn’t seem to be acting on their knowledge. I highly doubt there are pro scouts that keeps floating the idea of bringing back Malakhov or Mogilny, Janssen, Rupp, Holik, Arnott, Sykora, Clemmensen (2x) or Gomez to Lou. Those are just the ones that he succeeded in bringing back. Who knows how many other players he failed to bring back. When he finally traded for Arnott, he mentioned that the Devils had tried unsuccessfully to re-acquire him a few times.. It was reported in 2012 and officially confirmed this off-season that the Devils tried to bring in Gomez after the Habs used a compliance buyout on him. It’s his weakness, and it’s getting very stale.

  1. Let’s talk about the full-time employees around him. It’s a little bare, no? There is Conte. There’s his son working with the farm team and the contracts and capologist guy, but no true assistant GMs that work with Lou on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps it is time Lou brought in a former NHL exec or two that has more intimate knowledge of the rest of the league than a few former Devils.


  1. Speaking of former Devils, what’s the end game for Scott Gomez hanging around? If you are not willing to risk losing Josefson or covet his versatility, then I don’t see any spot for Gomez.  Of course you could trade Brunner, but why trade a young(ish) player that had a great camp to make room for old Scott Gomez? I guess if two centers somehow go down for an extended period of time?

  1. Over the last 3 seasons, 62 goalies played at least 40 games. Hedberg and Brodeur ranked 51st and 53rd in save percentage. Cory Schneider, 2nd. Scott Clemmensen, 59th.

  1. I’ll end on a good note: Patrik Elias will most likely become the 81st or 82nd player in NHL history to reach 1000 points. He’ll become just the 30th player to get his first 1000 points all with one team.

The 29 others: Gretzky, Messer, Howe, Yzerman, Lemieux, Jagr, Sakic, Esposito, Bourque, Mikita, Trottier, Kurri, Modano, Lafleur, Savard, Perreault, Delvecchio, Beliveau, Clarke, Bobby Hull, Iginla, Alfredsson, Federko, Lidstrom, Bossy, Taylor, Potvin, H. Richard, Gilbert.


Nice company.

Scott Clemmensen "Wins" The Backup Job

04 October 2014 - 01:33 PM

Was there ever a competition? I always thought he would be the backup, but this wasn't even a competition. If they had such little faith in Kinkaid as a backup, why bring in Clemmensen (arguably the worst goalie in the NHL over the past two seasons), instead of someone who can actually play? Brodeur insurance?


I'd feel more comfortable with them calling Brodeur today than Clemmensen actually. A 37-year-old backup goalie that was never good to begin with. But once again, Lou "knows" Scott. He knows the goalie of 6 seasons ago that had a nice year. What about the one that has been fvcking awful for the past two.

Bernier, Harrold & Janssen on Waivers. Carter to Wild

30 September 2014 - 11:12 PM

Shall we?


This isn't a thread for your ideal lineup. Just educated guesses to what we actually see come opening night and how we got there.


20 Forwards left:


The 9 that are 100% safe:  Cammelleri-Zajac-Jagr, Zubrus-Elias-Havlat, Clowe-Henrique Ryder  x  x  x     x x


The 1 that is 99% safe due to his contract: Ruutu




Clowe-Henrique Ryder

Ruutu x  x

x x


The 1 that is 90% safe due to Pete and Lou's love: Gionta




Clowe-Henrique Ryder

Ruutu Gionta  x

x x


The 1 that is only here to keep the locker room loose and to remind Pete and Lou of that when they eventually call him up in November for no reason but say it is because of that: Cam Janssen (Cut)


The 2 that are impressing the staff, but it just makes sense to have them start the season in the AHL: Matteau and Boucher


Boucher is making things tough for the staff, and if this was another year and another camp, he would in NJ to start the season. Crazier things have happened. Bergfors had such a good camp in 2009 that it sent Shanahan packing. One more great pre-season game, and he really might complicate the matter, but in the end, I see the AHL for him. There isn't such a rush and the Devils have options. There is a good case to make that he deserves to be here.


The 1 that never should have been signed and will most definitely be put on waivers after Lou perhaps makes some calls for him:  Bernier


The signing was weird at the time. It never made all that much sense. Too many better options at the moment. Don't think Lou will have that big of a problem with him making 600K in the AHL.


The 1 that they have some faith in and has had a good enough camp to make the team: Brunner


He's done enough. They know they can scratch him. A good player to throw in the top 9 if there is an injury.




Clowe-Henrique Ryder

Ruutu Gionta  Brunner

x x


Okay two more spots to go, and this is where I see two distinct battles taking place:


Gomez vs Josefson: The redemption narrative has been in full force. I've read some mixed reports, but it seems everyone within the organization has liked what they have seen from Scott. I bet he might get two more looks, and any added offense in the final pre-season games, and the return becomes official.


I have not seen Jacob play, so I can't say much. I know the organization sees something in him. He might really need to impress in his final game(s). If he doesn't, I could see the team trying to sneak him through waivers. He probably does too.


Carter vs Tootoo: I'm of the belief the organization wants someone with some grit/energy/drop-the-gloves-ability, especially with Clowe being told not to. I don't think Carter is much of a fighter, but he's there. Tootoo has impressed so far, and I think as of now he has a small lead over Carter to make the team.


So as of now, with 6 days to go: My predictions are:




Clowe-Henrique Ryder

Ruutu Gionta  Brunner


Tootoo Gomez


What the 4th line will actually be is anyone's guess right now.


AHL: Bernier, Josefson, Boucher, Matteau, Janssen


Out of the organization: Carter