A while back the Devils were in a spot that led them to give Ilya Kovalchuk a monster contract. The Devils struggled with their place in the NHL as a great regular season team that turned into a pumpkin when the playoffs began.
They were a flawed bunch with an overworked goaltender and a wayward offense that included the fumbling and bumbling.
With Feb. 28 just around the corner, they need to get the ball rolling and make it known they are ready to sell.
Remember that their $100 million man has been a part of bad teams and could never be accused of elevating the play of those around him. He's a stat machine best owned in fantasy hockey and not the real brand where chemistry is key.
Unfortunately, what has been done is irreversible and they are now forced to live through the next 15 years.
He could be traded, but his value is evaporating at an alarming rate and he's unable to score even during the extensive garbage time found in Devils games nowadays.
Who wants him now? Anyone? Kovalchuk for a draft choice and a bad contract? Nobody wants the burden.
Recently, talks of moving Parise and Brodeur were out there in the media world and I say it's time to get creative and acquire assets.
By assets, I mean if trading Brodeur to the Caps nets you Carlson or Green, then you must do it. If Parise nets you Malkin then make it happen. Any deal that gives you a piece for years to come has become the biggest need for New Jersey.
Granted these deals could mean major losses at the gates, but the gates have always stunk and the only way to grab the fickle fans' attention is through championship-caliber hockey.
Youth must be served now and deals should be made. Tear it down so it can be built again sooner before it's re-built in Kansas City or Portland or wherever they choose to flee to.
But for the hell of it let's get creative:
Brodeur for Green (or Suban, or Bfuyglien or ¢50 on the Dollar)
This might sting for a while, but if you can get a younger playmaker for an aging goaltending legend, you do it. Sentiment is nice, but it won't make the Devils watchable or profitable in three years. Move Marty and honor his legacy the best you can whenever the opportunities present themselves. Applaud him when he returns and chant his name loudly. But don't pass up a chance to be relevant for another decade for an extended swan song.
Parise for Malkin (or Picks)
I am going with the suggested deals I've heard rumored so let's do this if possible. Of course this move wouldn't be necessary if Lou Lamoriello would've let the Kovalchuk project just fade away in the offseason. I made that suggestion earlier. Instead they should part ways with Parise and let him form a dynamic duo with Sidney Crosby while Malkin and Kovalchuk could partner up to form a talented, yet enigmatic duo. A pair capable of 200-plus points and exciting the sparse Prudential Center crowds.
Arnott for Draft Picks
This should be a theme for the cap-constricted Devils. Considering they also lost picks, they should look to get some back. Even though picks are nice, the goal here is to acquire enough picks and cap space to make a move that can bolster the team in the more immediate future.
Send draft picks to the Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel. Assuming the Devils get Malkin, they would have a top line of Kovalchuk, Malkin and Kessel. It's not the Miami Heat, but it's impressive. They could also mix and match with their new top three forwards. For instance, they could go Kovalchuk-Malkin-Clarkson, Kessel-Zajac-Tedenby or something else like that. But the idea is to rebuild the team around Kovalchuk's skills. Like I said he'll be here for a while.
Pray to Christ Some GM Wants Volchenkov, Tallinder, Zubrus or Rolston
Tallinder and Volchenkov were locked into albatross contracts in this age of tight budgets. Zubrus isn't worth a million a year so it's nice to see Lamoriello gave him $3.4 million a year. Of course moving these deals won't be easy, but lumping a Volchenkov in with a Brodeur deal for Green and Poti could work...possibly.
Poti's expiring deal would position the Devils to have another $4 million in space instead of having Volchenkov clog the cap for the next five seasons. Tallinder is just as tough considering the length and cash Lamoriello gave them. It's true he may have had to overpay since the destination isn't as attractive, but why do it then?
Beg the Kings To Take Kovalchuk
They'll probably hang up, but sweeten the deal by offering Jacob Josefson or Tedenby and ask for an expiring contract and goaltending prospect back. OK, this won’t happen because the Kings ARE convinced they will get Parise for much less than Ilya. That’s a safe bet.
If the Devils are serious about winning it begins now and what they need is a clean slate. I hope that Lou wakes up and gives fans a reason to believe and buy tickets in the years to come.