There certainly are a decent number of players that still remain available. Now is not time to hit the panic button, even if it appears other teams have improved themselves by signing free agents.
Division rivals like the Rangers have picked up Martin Gaborik, the Penguins have acquired Mike Rupp, the Flyers have traded for Chris Pronger and added Ian Laperriere, and the Islanders have added Dwayne Rolson. Whether or not the price paid for these players will end up being a good deal does remain to be seen.
The Devils still would like to ideally fill the No. 2 center slot, sign an additional foward, and possibly add a defenseman as well as a backup goaltender,
Some possible candidates for the center position include Saku Koivu, Robert Lang, Jason Williams, Dominic Moore, Mike Comrie and Mats Sundin. I would think the best option for money and player would be Lang, who possibly could be had on the cheap, coming off a significant injury.
At defense, a player like Francois Beachuamin is tempting, but rumor has it he is looking for a 4-5 year deal at 4.5 million per. That might be a bit pricey.
At backup goaltender, I would expect the Devils to either re-sign Kevin Weekes, or give youngster Jeff Frazee a chance as the backup. Ideally, I'd prefer Frazee stayed at Lowell where he can play every day and continue to develop.
I also would expect the Devils to re-sign Brendan Shanahan to a deal that would be close to or slightly above the one-year $800,000 contract he signed last year.
It is quite clear with all of the departures, GM Lou Lamoriello is setting himself up for criticism. However, I believe Lamoriello is counting on the likes of youngsters like Nicklas Bergfors, Matt Halischuk, Rod Pelley and Matt Corrente to step up and fill gaps created by veteran departures. Until the entire offseason has played out, it is way too early to criticize.
However, if the plan does not live up to par, and the Devils struggle, then Lamoriello should receive a ton of criticism. Being it is only July 2, I think it is very premature to criticze.
But, if the Devils are struggling greatly come December, there should be a lot of criticism, and it should be pointed at the man who made the decision to allow guys like Brian Gionta and John Madden to leave via free agency.
That man is newest Hall of Famer in the "builders" category, and his name is Lou Lamoriello. That's how a general manager earns his money, by making the tough decisions, and hopefully making them correctly more often then not.