While we sit and wait, let's think about what other monuments would feature the New Jersey Devils aside from Mount Puckmore. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
At the beginning of August, Puck Daddy began their series of "Mount Puckmore," where various writers would state what four players, coaches, or members of management best represent the franchise. Here is today's entry for example. Given the discussion it ensued here, in the next day I highlighted who I felt were the two most people in New Jersey Devils history: Lou Lamoriello and the late Dr. John McMullen. In the ensuing comments to that post, many users stated how difficult it was to come up with selections given the number of important players and other figures in the history of the franchise.
Well, since the original idea was to come up with which four people in Devils history would we want on an imaginary monument like Mount Rushmore, why not have a few more? It's one thing to consider who have been the most important in the history of the New Jersey Devils. It's another to consider who would be represented from the two teams prior to the New Jersey Devils; or who would be the most disappointing Devils.
Ultimately, it's all for fun and discussion. So let's extend the thought experiment for other, more offbeat monuments.
Here are a few where I added some of my own suggestions for the monuments I suggested:
The Honorable Mention Mount Rushmore - The next four prominent figures in New Jersey Devils franchise history. These would be the next four after coming up with an actual Mount Rushmore.
David Conte - While the Devils scouting hasn't had a lot of hits in the 2000s (recent drafts are too early to tell, earlier ones, not so much), Conte's results in the 1990s alone justify recognition. That 10 out of 14 selections made it to the NHL to some level in 1990 will stand the test of time of success.
Ken Daneyko - He's on MSG, he's a member of the Devils alumni, he'll talk hockey all day long, and he's been with the franchise from the beginning. OK, he wasn't a regular until the 1985-86 season; but he's been around long enough for Devils fans of all kinds to know who he was. He was never a scorer, but he was a mean defenseman who played with a lot of fire.
Patrik Elias - He's the franchise's leading scorer (314 goals, 440 assists) and one of the most skilled forwards ever seen in a Devils uniform. His passing and vision are impeccable, and his shot's quite good as well. Plus, he was more than just responsible on defense; an exceptional Devil through and through. Plus, Elias was the team's first non-North American captain for the 2006-07 season.
Scott Niedermayer - Niedermayer's effortless skating, tireless work ethic, excellent positioning, and strong offensive instincts made him one of the best two-way defensemen of the last 20 years. In his 13 years with New Jersey, he compiled 112 goals, 364 assists, 3 Stanley Cups, 1 Norris trophy (the only Devil to have won the Norris), and was named the first captain after Stevens. The way he left New Jersey still leaves a bitter taste in some fans mouths, but the player was not only fantastic but crucial to the team's success in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The Pre-Devils Mount Rushmore - Four prominent figures from the Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies.
The Devils weren't always the Devils. Back in 1975, the franchise began in KC; and their first move was to Colorado for the 1977-78 season. The teams weren't good, but there were some notable names from this era of the franchise.
Wilf Paiement - Leading Scouts goalscorer: 47 goals, 35 assists, 82 points in 135 games as scout; Leading Colorado Rockies scorer: 106 goals, 148 assists, 254 points in 257 games. Paiement also holds single season records for goals (41), assists (56), and points (87); and he was captain of the team from 1977-79.
Guy Charron - He ended up being the all-time leading Scouts scorer: 40 goals, 73 assists, 113 points in 129 games. He was also captain of the team in 1976.
Don Cherry - Only one season coaching the Rockies in 79-80 (19-48-13, 6th in Smyth division) but it was memorable if only for the motto "Come to the fights and watch a Rockies game break out!" Was a fan favorite as a coach, but feuded with GM Ray Miron.
Barry Beck - As the second overall pick in 1977 draft; Beck 37 goals, 71 assists, 108 points in 148 games as a defenseman for colorado. Set a record for rookie goals as a defenseman at the time with 22, holds team record for most points by a defenseman and as a rookie in a season with 60.
The Pre-Lamoriello Mount Rushmore - Four prominent figures from the New Jersey Devils from 1982 to the end of the 1986-87 season.
Lou Lamoriello wasn't always the man in New Jersey. Sure, we know he is now, but the Devils had to establish their presence amid. Here's who stood out from those early years.
Glenn "Chico" Resch - The current color commentator on the Devils telecasts played 198 games, achieved a record of 49-113-20, and only achieved a goals against average below 4.00 and a save percentage above 87% in one season (3.98, 87.1% - 82-83). Yet, he remains as the active link to those early 80s Devils.
Kirk Muller - Selected second overall in the 1984 draft, Muller made an instant impact at age 18. His rookie season saw him put up 17 goals and 37 assists; and he improved on both totals in the following two seasons. Muller ended up with 68 goal sand 128 assists in 236 games in the pre-Lou era. He wasn't Super Mario, but Muller was excellent and something a Devils team looking for respect sorely needed.
Mel Bridgman - Captain of the team from 1984-87, Bridgman spent the prime of his career with the Devils. He led the team in scoring in both of the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons, giving the team some needed offense. While he was traded in the 1986-87 season, his tenure in New Jersey ended with 76 goals and 148 assists in 288 games, one of the most prolific scorers on those early Devils teams.
Aaron Broten - He started as a Rockie, but he came into his own as a Devil in the 1980s. Prior to Lou, Broten put up 95 goals and 175 assists in the 349 games. Broten's second best year in his career came in the 1986-87 season Broten was a decent player on his own from the very beginning of the New Jersey era.
The International Devils Mount Rushmore - Four prominent non-North American New Jersey Devils.
Elias - Well, see above for the description on the Next Rushmore status
Viacheslav Fetisov - It took Lou a trip to the USSR to negotiate this deal as Fetisov would not defect; but he (along with Alexei Kasatonov) as one of the first Soviet players to play in the NHL without defection. Fetisov came over late in his career at age 31, but he was an excellent defender in the 6 seasons he played in New Jersey. He did not win the Stanley Cup with New Jersey, as he was traded to Detroit during the 1995 season; but he earned his rings with the Red Wings later that decade.
Sergei Brylin - "Sarge" was the very definition of a utility player, a jack-of-all-trades forward. He could play center, he could play wing, and if you asked him to, he'd play defense as well. Was Brylin a great player per se? No, but he was decent enough to stay on the Devils roster, chip in some points on a second or third line, and fill in spots as necessary. His sole NHL team was New Jersey, he scored only 129 goals and 179 assists in 765 games, and he's one of 5 Devils to have won all three Stanley Cups in the franchise history. A Jersey cult hero straight out of Moscow.
Patrik Sundstrom - Sundstrom began a productive career with the Vancouver Canucks; but his short time in New Jersey was important. As much as you can make cases for Petr Sykora, Bobby Holik, and Peter Stastny (among others); Sundstrom's ridiculous 1988 playoff performance (7 goals, 13 assists; got 8 points in one game) led the team was a big reason why the Devils went on that Cinderella run. Plus, he continued putting up the points as he finished his 5 seasons with 86 goals and 160 assists in 305 games. Sundstrom also won the Viking Award (best Swedish player in North America, voted on by the players) in 1988-89 as a Devil.
Here are some more monument ideas where I don't have any suggestions for, but feel free to come up with your own selections.
The Playoff Heroes Mount Rushmore - Four players who made it possible for the New Jersey Devils to achieve playoff glory by playing well out of their mind. (This is also known as the Claude Lemieux monument.)
The Dubious Devils Mount Rushmore - Four prominent people in the New Jersey Devils franchise who didn't do well. And I don't mean they were disappointing, they were down right awful. (This one is difficult as anyone who is truly bad wasn't on the team for long.)
The Cult Heroes Mount Rushmore - Four New Jersey Devils players or personnel who were good, not necessarily great, but were important figures at the time to the team. (This is also known as the Sergei Brylin monument.)
The Short Term Devils Mount Rushmore - Four New Jersey Devils players or personnel who weren't a long-term part of the franchise, but excelled in the short time they were here. (e.g. less than 2 seasons)
The Non-Martin Brodeur Goaltenders Mount Rushmore - Martin Brodeur has been such an important part of the Devils; it's easy to forget the other goaltenders who have done well for some period of time for this franchise. (Would you put in Scott Clemmensen? Sean Burke? Craig Billington? There's room for debate here.)
The Traded Players Devils Mount Rushmore - Four players who became members of the New Jersey Devils franchise by a trade and were exceptional in their time as Devils. (Yes, Scott Niedermayer would count here, since his draft pick was the result of a trade.)
The Wish They Weren't Traded Devils Mount Rushmore - Four players who the New Jersey Devils franchise traded away that were regrettable in retrospect. (Would Bill Guerin qualify? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how you view the situation.)
Please feel free to offer your own nominations for one of these, some of these, or even all of these in the comments. Please don't hesitate to come up with one of your own, too. Thanks for reading.