ILWT Audition 2014: It's Time for a New Captain in New Jersey

Writer E thinks enough is enough and it's time for a change of captain on the team. No word on whether this hooking penalty by Salvador was the tipping point. (Likely not.) - Bruce Bennett

The ILWT Audition process continues with Writer E Jeremyatscope, who believes the New Jersey Devils should name a new captain. Read on to find out who is suggested to take the 'C' from Bryce Salvador.

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 this process continues with the submission of Writer E Jeremyatscope, who thinks it's time for someone else to wear the 'C' for the Devils in 2014-15.

***

Over the past two years, the Devils have employed Bryce Salvador as their captain. At the time, it wasn't a bad decision, with the departure of former captain Zach Parise to Minnesota, and Salvador coming off of a very strong 2012 playoffs, scoring 14 points in the 24 games. He had been dependable, missing just 9 games in his first 3 full seasons in New Jersey (excluding missing all of 2007-08 with that concussion bug). He was defensively steady and even keeled, a +25 with the Devils.

However, since being named skipper of the Devils, he's been on a steady decline. He's played in 79 games total in 2 years as captain, giving an absence of leadership on a team that desperately needed direction. He's been offensively inept, statistically speaking, with just 6 points in those 79 games, and a -14 plus/minus, showing some defensive lapses as well. He was never going to blow anyone away with his speed, but it's been declining severely with his age, now 38, and with the injuries piling up.

A leadership role would require the followers to be able to lean on the leader with dependency, knowing he'd be there for them. A leader has to lead by example and show the way for those growing into the group, and contribute normally just like everyone else.

Over his captaincy, Bryce has been serviceable at best when on the ice. He didn't take too many bad penalties, and wasn't afraid to get his nose dirty. However, with the newcomers to the Devils blue line, especially the young guns Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill, they need someone to be able to show them the way, and Salvador hasn't been giving them a great example.

I know that injuries happen, and time missed will be there. But missing over a full season of games in 2 years is not something you want out of your captain. Sal's been there when he could, but he's getting older, slower, and less durable by the minute. It seems like it's time to move on.

This brings the question, who would be well served to garnish a C on their upper left chest? Here are a couple of suggestions:

Travis Zajac - He's everything the Devils have asked him to be during his time. Aside from missing most of 2011-12 with a torn Achillies, he's missed 4 games in 8 full seasons with the big club. When at peak production, he was good for 60 points and a high plus/minus with his stellar two-way play. His play with Jaromir Jagr this past season has put a good spark into him, and he's playing much better with possession, something that's become a staple of Devils hockey under coach Pete DeBoer. He's also not afraid to get in the dirty areas and fight for what's right. He is under contract seemingly forever, so he's gonna be there for the team when some more new guys come up from the system. Why not give him a new letter on the front of his jersey?

Andy Greene - One of, if not, one of the more underrated defensemen in the NHL, Andy broke out this year with 32 points, just behind Marek Zidlicky for lead in points by the blue line. His play has been superb, not afraid to jump into the offensive rush, and reliable in his own end. His play with partner Adam Larsson was helping Larsson grow and get better as a two-way defenseman, something the Devils really look for. His ice time has increased every year, and has been leaned on by DeBoer as someone who can play everywhere on the ice and produce. He's entering a contract year, and he could continue his flourish into an upper-echelon defenseman with a C on his chest.

Adam Henrique - This might surprise you, but think about the qualities Zach Parise brought the Devils during his tenure in Newark. Henrique possesses very similar skills and abilities. Strong on the forecheck, soft hands, gets in the dirty areas, superb on the penalty kill, and can score from anywhere on the ice. He stays healthy for the most part, and plays with a chip on his shoulder. The Devils inked him to a 6-year deal that cuts in to his free-agency term, showing he is committed to this team, unlike the aforementioned Parise when he was named captain. He's just 24 now, but age hasn't stopped teams like Colorado and Pittsburgh from naming captains at young ages. What's stopping Henrique from getting a letter on his jersey?

Whatever the case, it's time for a change. What the Devils had last season clearly didn't work, and a change is necessary. It doesn't matter if they buy out Salvador or just take the C off his chest, he's pretty much done as captain of the Devils. It's time to name someone who's earned it as leader of Jersey's Team.

***

Now that you read Writer E Jeremyatscope's 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 E Jeremyatscope 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 E Jeremyatscope for the submission and thank you for reading.

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