First off, I would like to thank Michelle Kenneth of Insidehockey.com for taking the time to do this.
Q: What does the re-signing of Ilya Kovalchuk mean for the Devils in your opinion?
A: Inking Kovalchuk is the Devils way of saying that things need to change. At the end of last season, there were a few problems that led to the Devils early demise in the first round of the playoffs. There were players that did not re-sign. There were players that were waived and bought out of their contracts. There was a trade that brought back a former Devil. There were signings of some of the best free agents on the market.
These are all signs that something was broken and needed to be fixed.
The Devils have been working on the same roster for the past three first-round exits. That was a sign that something on the roster needed to change because it wasn't working. Hopefully, for the Devils these changes to the lineup will help get them out of that first-round exit rut.
Q: What does this mean for Zach Parise?
A: Many people think that just because Kovalchuk signed with the Devils, Parise is no longer the key guy. That's not true. Kovalchuk is the key. Parise is the future. Put the two together and they are the key to the Devils future. Those two words, the key and the future, are the words that Martin Brodeur used to describe Kovalchuk and Parise.
Kovalchuk is a man that wants to win. He also understands that Parise is part of that equation. He would not have re-signed if he believed that the Devils would lose Parise because of his contract. Kovalchuk wants to win for the rest of his career. Parise is part of making that happen.
Q: Which Devil is most likely to be moved to help free up some cap space?
A: I don't like answering questions like this because I'm not a fan of the rumor mill. I can only tell you that I was told to expect a forward and a defenseman to be moved.
The Arnott trade solidified that certain contracts would not be moved, and certain players would not be asked to waive their no-trade clauses. Only two, possibly three names that have been appearing in the trade rumors fall into that category. Only one player rumored to be moved does not fit into that category.
Q: What is the Devils biggest need heading into the season?
A: Right now, their focus is getting under cap and re-signing Mike Mottau. He's not the only defenseman they need. Patrik Elias has echoed my thoughts on the Devils needing to ink Tomas Kaberle. But the truth of the matter is that it would be incredibly insane to trade for Kaberle considering the Devils are trying to get below cap. You can't help but lust at the thought of what Kaberle could do for the Devils.
It is obvious that the signing of Kovalchuk is a sign that the Devils are ready to do things differently just to get out of the first round. They still have a few tricks up their sleeve, but another defenseman is sure to come their way soon.
Q: Based on all the additions the Devils have made this off-season is it safe to say they are the favorites coming out of the East?
A: The Devils are generally listed as the favorites. They probably will be listed as a favorite again this season. But to be realistic, we first need to see how the Devils will operate with Kovalchuk in the lineup from Day One, instead of being a rental dropped in during the last weeks of the season.
Kovalchuk is not part of the Devils ways yet. But he has tried to do everything that was asked of him. Sometimes when a team is built around you, you have to ask if it's the team that isn't working or the style of the player that isn't working for the team. What is devised over the summer and into the season will make for an interesting new team.
I won't make my decision if the Devils are the favorites in the East until the last two weeks of the season. That is when you can truly tell if the team will make it or not.
This article and more can also be found at MTRmedia.com
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