While Lou Lamoriello battles other general managers over superstar left winger Ilya Kovalchuk, there is a curious question not being asked by Devils' analysts and fans. Why not spend their surplus of cash on a player who could potentially make more sense for the short and long term success of the franchise?
That player is none other than future star, standout U.S. Olympian, and New Jersey native right winger Bobby Ryan.
Ryan, 23, is currently a restricted free agent from the Anaheim Ducks and could come to the Devils for a lower price than Kovalchuk is sure to receive. Ryan recently turned down two offers from the Ducks and is looking for something in the neighborhood of $6 million. This number is something the Devils could workout by creating a long-term deal to build their franchise around him and superstar left winger Zach Parise.
Unlike Kovalchuk, Ryan would be a proper fit for the Devils system and create a top line of Parise, center Travis Zajac and himself. This line would feature to 30 goal scorers and would be among the best, if not the best, in all of hockey. We were witness to Ryan's high level of skill at the Olympics and his numbers in Anaheim suggest he is on the verge of superstardom.
A superstar who could give the Devils two of the top American born forwards in the game and help the dismal attendance, just saying.
Having another prolific scorer on the roster creates flexibility during the season for other interesting pairings. For instance, they could slide Ryan to the second line and pair him with Jason Arnott and Patrick Elias. This would also strengthen the power play unit that has been known to go anemic during crucial stretches of the regular and post-season.
Of course there would be a hefty cost that goes along with signing a Group Two RFA, but the loss of up to three draft picks is easily worth it. Remember this is a front office notorious for finding talent late in the draft and through minor free agent acquisitions, which turn into major players.
Although this signing would likely leave the Devils with no cap room, they would be in a great position when the trade deadline rolls around.
With valuable players with valuable expiring contracts, the Devils could be in a great spot to bring back players who could help New Jersey hoist its fourth Stanley Cup.
It all begins with bringing in the superstar that completes a top line that will be set to dominate for the next decade. So Mr. Lamoriello, please sign Bobby Ryan and let Kovalchuk be a chemistry killer somewhere else.