This FanPost is written with a caveat. The caveat being that I tend to be overly optimistic about the Devils. I've been a fan for about 28 years now so I was a fan when the team was putrid and I never had any expectations for them. That's obviously changed since 95, 2000 and 2003 and even 2012.
Yes the Devils overpaid for Mike Cammalleri but as has been said many times, if you're shopping on free agent frenzy day, you aren't going to get the best deals. Those tend to come later on in the summer with more "risky" players who turn into nice surprises like Jagr. By best deals I mean cheaper players without longer term commitments.
Cammalleri is a goal scorer pure and simple. The Devils have needed goal scoring since they lost Parise to his hometown desires and Kovalchuk to his wanderlust.
It has been argued that the only thing that held the Devils from the playoffs last season was their shootout record which has reached epic proportions. Along with Cammalleri, Martin Havlat should also be able to help in this regard even though he is a far cry from the player he used to be in Chicago and Ottawa. Although something tells me that playing with one of his best friends in Patrik Elias as well as fellow Czech countrymen in Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky will lead to a Jagrian-type of resurrection. Maybe I'm reaching but I just have a feeling that he's going to be a great fit (even if he isn't it's a one-year cheap deal). Theoretically, the Devils could possibly through an entire Czech Republic power play out there along with Travis Zajac.
The biggest thing concerning me right now in all honesty is Martin Brodeur. Why? He remains unsigned which means that the potential for him returning remains. I'm not convinced Scott Clemmensen signing means that door is completely closed yet. And I WANT the goaltending responsibilities turned over to Cory Schneider now. I don't think it happens to the extent it should if Marty comes back into the picture and I say that as someone who loves and respects Marty for giving me some of the greatest sports memories of my life. It's just time.
Ultimately looking at the moves to release Volchenkov gave the team the ability to get better up front while hopefully giving defenseman Adam Larsson the opportunity to finally prove being the fourth pick overall in the draft wasn't a mistake. Everything about the offseason is good thus far except for the fact that Marty is still sitting out there possibly complicating things again. I never thought I'd see the day where I'd be wishing Mr. Brodeur would sign with another team yet here we are.
I think if you combine the inevitable improvement in shootouts in 14-15 along with Cory Schneider starting 65-70 games is a perfect equation in getting these Devils in the playoff mix. And as the Rangers and Kings showed once again this year, all you need to do is get into the playoffs in the NHL and anything can happen.