Hi all. Let me apologize in advance as this will be a bit of a brain dump but after last night's loss I am in need of a bit of therapy.
Concern number one is, what the heck has happened to the Devils tradition of having at least a few top flight defensemen? Is there one top 50 d-man on this team? Andy Greene is overall clearly our best, and probably a reasonable top pairing blue liner.
Volchenkov. I am a huge and unrepentant Lou supporter, but this is looking to me like a biblically bad signing - maybe one of Lou's worst ever. A train has one of the 40 biggest cap hits among D men. We have him for 3 more seasons, AND he has an NTC. This guy is literally a third pairing D man. I would venture to say he is the most overpaid D man in the league right now.
Salvador. I am not going to be a Salvador basher as some others are. He can still be a solid 2nd pairing D guy. I think overall the Devils got a very good deal when they traded for him. He obviously has good leadership qualities, no way Lou would let him be named as Captain if he did not. But he is NOT a top flight defenseman.
Tallinder - hurt alot. Gut wrenchingly inconsistent. A serviceable 4-5 guy. Overpaid.
Larsson. At this point, Larsson should be beginning to assert himself. I don't see that at all. Maybe I am reading too much into things, but he looks like a deer in the headlights to me. I see no confidence in the kid. He is not mentioned in the conversation of up and coming young d-men. I know he is young, but my spidey sense is starting to tingle and I am starting to think it is more likely the kid is a bust rather than a star.
Zidlicky. Probably not worth mentioning because I doubt he will be back but he is Mr. Careless Penalty if you ask me. Drives me nuts. For the amount of time he gets on the PP, has not delivered anywhere near enough offensively. Overpaid by a million bucks a year.
Fayne - glad to have him at this price. Good 2nd pairing guy. Unlikely to ever be a force though.
Harrold - 3rd pairing guy. Could live with him since he moves the puck OK but that is an indictment of the rest of the guys who can get the puck up very well.
Basically, if you sum it up, to me we don't have a #1 or #3 defenseman on this team. And the cupboard in the minors does not look like the answer. I do not see Urbom, Gelinas, Burlon or Dan Kelly being the answer to being one of the top guys any time soon. Again, they look like they might be 3rd pairing guys. Kelly might actually be the guy I most like to see get a shot. He has the best +/- of the Dmen and will drop the gloves.
We better hope the Merrill turns out to be the real deal and that the lightbulb goes off for Larsson, because if not, I think we are going to look like the Islanders defense soon.
Now on to the youth we have among forwards
Am I the only one who is VERY concerned that several of our younger recent higher draft picks are in the minors, while we have traded and picked up waiver guys like D'Agostini and Koustopolis. If I were Jacob Josefson, I would be very concerned about my future given those moves (yes I know neither guy is a center but still). I also feel bad for Teddy wth his injury, but now is the time we should be seeing a guy begin to assert himself if he is going to be a player. Beyond that fellow Devils fans, the cupboard is looking like alot of store brand groceries. Joe Whitney is leading the A Devs by a mile in scoring, and probably deserves a shot but size is obviously a concern.
I hope we re-sign Elias and he finishes his career with the Devs, but he probably only has two seasons. Also, I have a really bad feeling that Clarkson is going to get alot of money thrown at him and will be gone.
The Devils have only TWO top 3 line forwards on the roster now signed beyond this year. Kovy and Zajac. That to me means closer to a complete rebuild
Sorry for the doom and gloom. I hope Lou can work some magic.