New Jersey Devils: What Avoiding Bankruptcy Means for the Devils
News broke, a day before the deadline, that Vanderbeek had brought down the organization's debt to about $18 million, as per Tom Gulitti via Fire and Ice. Since then, the Devils have signed their first overall pick and plan to make a few more changes in the offseason.
Without bankruptcy looming over GM Lou Lamoriello’s head, expect him to resume fishing in the free-agent market or looking for a possible trade to account for some lost offense in the Devils offseason. Lamoriello likes to keep all of his business low-key, so do not expect a bunch of Devils trade rumors to pop out.
Know that he is doing his job.
His first order of business will be to find one more top-six forward. Since the Zach Parise saga ended, the organization has not signed a top-six forward to replace him, not even a forward to replace Alexei Ponikarovsky, who signed with the Winnipeg Jets.
Petr Sykora has still not been signed by the Devils or another organization even though he had a great 2011-12 season. The 35-year-old Czech winger played all 82 regular-season games and put up 44 points. Those are great stats for the $650,000 the Devils paid him last year. Maybe Lamoriello was waiting to find out what his budget was before signing Sykora to a deal.
Sykora has said before that he would like to remain with the Devils, so what is Lamoriello waiting for? It seems obvious that the Devils need him back on the roster. Lamoriello will most likely give him another camp try-out if Sykora does not sign anywhere, including with the Devils.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Aside from Sykora, Lamoriello already signed Bobby Butler to a two-way contract. Butler is a young player who has failed to reach his potential so far. Coach Peter DeBoer will attempt to bring out Butler’s best and possibly make him into a top-six forward.
The Ottawa Senators recently bought out Butler’s contract after he recorded only 37 points over 94 games with the organization. His lack of offense does not bother Lamoriello, though, who believes Butler has potential to be a top-six forward. For the league minimum $525,000 the Devils are paying him, they could have found a good bargain.
After polishing up the offense the Devils, will need to make some decisions on defense. They currently have eight defensemen under a one-way contract and a few players who are nearly NHL ready. Anton Volchenkov, Marek Zidlicky, Henrik Tallinder, Bryce Salvador, Andy Greene, Mark Fayne, Adam Larsson and Peter Harrold are all under NHL contracts and are more than capable of playing in the big leagues.
The logjam at the blue line means that there will be a good competition between the players to fight for ice-time. Do not be surprised if Lamoriello trades one or more of these defensemen for some cap space or a decent forward.
If one—or some—of these defensemen get traded, it will open up space for defensive prospects Brandon Burlon, Eric Gelinas, Alexander Urbom or even Jon Merrill, all of whom have potential to be top-four defensemen if they develop correctly.
The eight NHL defensemen could also be trade bait for a goalie to replace Martin Brodeur after he retires. With two years left on his contract, Brodeur’s time is winding down; although the Devils have a couple of prospect goalies like Scott Wedgewood and Keith Kinkaid, they still need time to develop. It would not hurt to get a goalie to fill the gap for a year or two.
Avoiding bankruptcy also gives the Devils a better shot at re-signing the nine players whose contracts will be up by the end of next year. Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus, David Clarkson, Jacob Josefson, Adam Henrique and Marek Zidlicky all must be re-signed by the Devils; they are all key contributors to last years Eastern Conference Champions.
Vanderbeek being able to pay off his debt is a step in the right direction for the Devils. It seems like they fell apart quickly in the offseason, even after only being two wins from a Stanley Cup. A few more tweaks here and there to the organization and lineup should put the Devils in a position to be as competitive as they were last season.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?