ILWT Audition 2014: Time for a New Voice

Writer A suggests the rarely suggested in this audition post. - Bruce Bennett

The ILWT audition process for 2014 continues with this submission from Writer A wemissparise. The post calls for a new voice from the top of the New Jersey Devils.

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 A wemissparise, who presents what will likely be an unpopular opinion among Devils fans.

***

The New Jersey Devils have been one of the most successful organizations in the NHL over the last two decades. With 13 straight playoff appearances between 1997 and 2010, five Stanley Cup appearances, and three Stanley Cup victories, few teams have enjoyed as much success as the Devils have. However, the last few years have been riddled with mediocrity. The Devils have now missed the postseason in three of the last four seasons and have lost much of their offensive talent with Zach Parise signing in Minnesota and Ilya Kovalchuk leaving for Russia. The problem starts at the top. While Lou Lamoriello has been one of the best general managers in the game over the last 20 years, his performance has regressed significantly in recent years. This regression is most evident in two areas; free agency and the draft. Lou Lamoriello has typically held firm to a policy of waiting to negotiate long term contracts with pending Unrestriced Free Agency until they are weeks away from free agency. This has led to the defection of many top level free agents such as Bobby Holik, Scott Gomez, Scott Niedermayer, and Zach Parise among others. While many of us will admit that letting players such as Gomez and Holik worked out for the best, the loss of Zach Parise changed the direction of the organization in a negative manner. Two full seasons later, Parise's production still has not been replaced. Additionally, Lamoriello has handed out big money contracts to mediocre players. After wisely letting David Clarkson leave, Lamoriello gave Ryan Clowe, an average and injury prone player, five years at almost five million dollars per year. Aging veterans such as Bryce Salvador and Danius Zubrus were also given multi-year contracts. Overall, free agency has not been kind to the Devils over the last few seasons.

The Devils struggles in recent drafts have been well chronicled. The Devils system is stacked with young, skilled, and high end defensemen who are either ready to make the full time jump or are on the cusp. Players like Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill, and Adam Larsson have all played significant minutes at the NHL level while prospects such as Damon Severson, Reece Scarlett, and Steve Santini are not far off. However, the Devils lack high end offensive prospects. Reid Boucher is the closest thing the Devils have to a top notch offensive prospect. Prospects such as Stefan Matteau, Harri Pesonen, and Mike Sislo have all struggled to produce at the AHL level. Finally, recent first round draft picks such as Jacob Josefson and Mattias Tedenby have struggled to produce at the NHL level.

Lamoriello has been an integral piece of this organization since 1987. Wayne Gretzky once called the Devils organization a "Mickey Mouse Organization" and Lamoriello was integral in helping transform the Devils into a league powerhouse. However, there comes a time where a new voice with fresh ideas and perspectives becomes necessary. Devils fans will be forever grateful for what Lamoriello has done. He will always have a place in the hearts of every Devils fan. But there is no denying that the franchise has slipped as of late and with no elite level offensive prospects on the horizon, there is no end in sight. Yes, Lamoriello was able to pull off a great trade to get Cory Schneider at last years draft. But his overall recent body of work has been less than stellar. The time has come for Lou Lamoriello to step aside and to allow someone else to continue to build the organization.

***

Now that you read Writer A wemissparise's post, I want to know what you think about it.  What do you think of the subject matter, which was written by Writer A wemissparise? What did you think about how Writer A wemissparise 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 A wemissparisefor the submission and thank you for reading.

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