ILWT Audition 2014: Devils Offseason Goals: Find Some

In our first audition post for 2014, the focus on the Devils' offseason goals - namely, getting more of them. - Andy Marlin

The ILWT Audition for new writers begins with Writer P 3ofCups, who gives an opinion on the New Jersey Devils' main goal for this offseason: finding some.

At the end of April, I put out another call looking for new writers for In Lou We Trust to write about the New Jersey Devils. I've opened up the audition to the community at large in order to get some new perspectives and additional voices on the front page with regularity. Since then, I've received eighteen entries that met the submission criteria. Regardless of how they're received, I thank the writers of each and every one of them - you know who you are - for stepping up and submitting an entry.  (One more instruction for those who made submissions and received letters, by the way.  Please do not comment on your submission or any of the other audition posts.  This will help allow others to freely judge the work and show that you can handle online reactions.  No drama is the best drama.)

Throughout the this week, I will post each one under an anonymous name so you can discuss and critique the post without regard to who actually wrote it. I can ensure you that I did not change any of the content outside of formatting it in to the SBN platform.  To that end, please note that I don't necessarily agree with what the posts actually say. I'm just letting them stand on their own. Please be constructive in any criticism and do offer your thoughts about whether you liked (or disliked) the post in addition to discussing it's content. Don't be mean, but be fair.

Now, I assigned a letter to each writer based on when I received it.  However, I decided to mix up the letters in terms of order of posting.  So even though this is the first one I'm posting, it's not the first one I received.  Without further ado, let's get this process started with the submission of Writer P 3ofCups, which is focused on the Devils' offseason goal of finding more of them.

***

What was once an annual rite of passage seems to have gone curiously wrong over the last 4 years, as the once mighty New Jersey Devils have missed the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 seasons. Actually, their playoff hiatus isn't that curious at all given they've lost two of the most dynamic offensive players in the NHL (Parise & Kovalchuck) in consecutive seasons.

Despite those significant losses, the Devs had a fairly decent season that found them on the precipice of the playoff puzzle. Why? They had a good coach who runs an efficient system, and they enjoy high puck possession numbers behind quality goaltending, which enabled them to beat the leagues best teams on a consistent basis. Add a remarkable season from the ageless wonder that is Jaromir Jagr (who was the team scoring leader and MVP) and you'd think an 8th seed would be a given. Yet the Devils always seemed a goal shy. Couple that with the dubious honor of setting an NHL record for shootout losses, and well, that's why most of the roster is currently swinging a different set of sticks.

So where exactly will these goals come from next year?

Unlike last summer, it most likely won't be from a player signed on or around July 5th, where this year's draft class could be among the most shallow talent pools in over a decade. And if/when those types of game-breaking players do reach their UFA status, they also come with hefty price tags that Lou Lamoriello is usually averse to. Which is why we could see many more trades come the draft. And why Lou Lamoriello needs to be an active participant when the time comes.

While the Devils are without a tradable pick in the 2014 draft (they're lucky to have one in the first place) the Devils do have valuable assets thanks to a deep pipeline of young, talented defensemen in the system. So, who may some of those goal-scoring targets be? This is all speculation (which is what makes it fun) but there could be some attractive players available via trade after a few post playoff shake-ups.

With the recent shakeups in Pittsburgh (and Crosby & Malkin's lifetime no-movement clauses), perhaps Kris Letang (with his $7.25MM cap hit and limited NMC) could be available for the right mega-package? Rumors have swirled all season long up in Winnipeg where their perennial mediocrity may force GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to part with one or more of his core guys in Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd or Blake Wheeler?

Vancouver may again explore the circus that became the "Ryan Kesler trade deadline." And the Canes have been open to listening to offers for Eric or Jordan Staal-though the prices would be quite high. Lastly, Bruce Garrioch said this week that Jason Spezza would waive his no-trade clause for 10 teams, and while it's uncertain if the Devs are among them, he still has some gas left in the tank (though age and health are concerns).

Now, the Devils won't deplete their farm system, which has already been compromised over the last few years, but it takes talent to get talent. With a bright young D corps which includes Larsson, Severson, Gelinas, Merrill and Urbom and forwards like Reid Boucher and Myles Bell on their way, perhaps Lamoriello has enough to put together a package for one of these formidable goal scorers. If one thing's for certain, when it comes to LL, anything's possible.

***

Now that you read Writer P 3ofCups' post, I want to know what you think about it.  What do you think of the subject matter? What did you think about how Writer P 3ofCups wrote this post? Based on how it was written and what was it about, is this the kind of post you would want to see regularly at In Lou We Trust? Please leave your answers and other comments about this post in the comments. Thanks go to Writer P 3ofCups for the submission and thank you for reading.

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