The Atlantic Division has become much more challenging in comparison to last year.
The Pittsburgh Penguins replaced Jordan Staal with Brandon Sutter, while taking in a high draft pick in the process. They also signed Tomas Vokoun, who should be a good complement to Marc-Andre Fleury. The New York Islanders lost PA Parenteau (a one-year wonder), and signed Brad Boyes. The New York Rangers acquired Rick Nash for peanuts and the Philadelphia Flyers acquired Luke Schenn, and still have a shot at Shea Weber.
The New Jersey Devils? They lost a 1st and 3rd liner to free agency, and are now have a huge hole to fill after the loss of Zach Parise. Parise and Alexei Ponikarovsky are both gone, and one has to wonder if either of them will be replaced (or attempted to be replaced, for that matter).
Parise is near-irreplaceable. The only possible available player who could fill Parise's skates is Bobby Ryan from Anaheim. The Cherry Hill native who may soon be leaving Anaheim, per multiple reports. He could do a good job on that 1st line. He's like Parise in the sense that they are both two-way players, although Parise arguably has more offensive output. That's not to say that Bobby Ryan will not be great, but he still has a while to go.
On the other hand, Alexei Ponikarovsky was a decent role player with the New Jersey Devils. He didn't utilize his size in the postseason, which is one reason why I personally was excited to watch him pack his bags, but now I do realize that the Devils need a two-way forward with size. Of course, when I think of that, Andrei Kostitsyn comes to mind. The Belarussian star definitely has potential, but a questionable work ethic is definitely one thing stopping him from receiving a nice paycheck anytime soon.
But you know what's in common between these two players? Neither of them, nor anybody like them for that matter, has been contacted by Lou Lamoriello and the Devils organization. I understand that Lamoriello had a busy summer, having to re-sign many sought-after Free Agents, including Martin Brodeur, Johan Hedberg, Zach Parise and Bryce Salvador. But the fact of the matter is, it's been 20 days since the Devils lost Zach Parise, and have only signed Krys Barch and Mark Fayne since then.
Does Lou think that those acquisitions alone will keep the Devils in the playoffs? I don't see any way possible, which is why I think that Lou Lamoriello will sign one of the top tier free-agents left.
The idea of Bobby Ryan donning red, white and black is very exciting to say the least, but it still needs to happen. Until then, one can only dream.
In conclusion, Lou Lamoriello is one of the best in his trade, and knows how to keep his roster at a high standard. But will he realize the mistakes he's made this offseason? Although some say that In Lou We Trust, I'm still hoping that I can trust that Lamoriello will save the Devils from the sinking ship that they are currently on.