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I'm not going to bother doing a season review this time around, because it's still too painful to look back. So instead I'll just move on to the offseason.

As we all know Madden and Gionta are the two big free agent situations facing the Devils this offseason. While I very much like both players, I think they both need to take paycuts if they want to stay with the Devils. Although I wouldn't blame either one of they took equal or more than they made last year with somebody else. The other guy that doesn't getbtalked about as much, but might be even more important than the other two, is Johnny Oduya. He's solid at both ends of the ice and continues to improve year after year. He and Martin were the Devils two most consistent defensemen throughout the season and he definitely needs to be brought back. I'd actually say he's more of a priority than the other two, but that's just me.

Holik and Havelid are definitely gone, Rupp is dirt cheap and knowing Lou will probably be brought back, and Shanahan I'm not sure of. I like a lot of what he brings, but how is he going to hold up to a full 82 game schedule at his age? Clemmensen is most likely gone as he would like to compete for a #1 job somewhere. Weekes I could see coming back, although I wouldn't be shocked if he left either.

As far as restricted free agents go, the Devils have Zajac, Greene, Leblond and Vrana. Zajac deserves a pay raise and I'm sure will get a deal done with Lou. Greene I'm not sure of. It seems like it's always the same thing with him. He's good one game and bad the next. If he's going to be the 6th or 7th defenseman I say bring him back. Leblond and Vrana haven't really had much time to prove what they can do in the NHL, but I'm sure both will get resigned.

Now who needs to go? Zubrus for one, but I doubt Lou will find any takers. He might need to go the route of packaging him and a higher pick for a lower pick somewhere. Pandolfo, I love his loyalty, but he was invisible during the regular season. He showed up for the playoffs though, so I'm sure he'll be back. If he would get moved though I wouldn't be bothered at all. Beyond that I think anybody not named Brodeur, Parise, Martin, Elias, and Zajac are fair game. Even Langenbrunner, who is one of my favorite Devils, is available at this point.

The Devils have had basically the same core since the lockout and they've failed to get past the second round (and were thoroughly dominated when they got that far) in 4 straight years. For some teams that might be okay, but not the Devils. I think something similar to the Arnott/McKay for Nieuwendyk/Langenbrunner deal might need to be made again. I'm not entirely sure who would be involved, but something needs to change. If they do little in the offseason I have a feeling we'll be back here next year talking about another early playoff exit...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, I really don't know what to say about the offseason so far. It sucks to lose Madden and Gionta, but I pretty much accepted that they were gone. Madden is one of my favorite all-time Devils, it'll be weird seeing him in something other than a Devils jersey. Gionta isn't worth 5 million a year and I'm sure will enjoy playing with his buddy Gomez again (the Habs better hope they find the same chemistry they had back in 05-06). They did however keep Oduya at the price I figured he'd get.

It'd be easy to say the Devils are losers this offseason, but I think the kind of change they made was necessary. Guys like Bergfors, Halischuk, Corrente, etc. are going to have a really good chance to make the team and I think the Devils do need to get younger.

Which is funny because last year I was saying how they should go for it. I think they did "go for it" and it didn't work out. Then they had Sutter abandon them (thanks Brent :n) which threw a wrench into Lou's plans. So really the best option is probably to take it easy this offseason, see what the kids look like, and then worry about acquiring players during the season or at the deadline. The other thing to keep in mind is that Paul Martin is UFA after this season and if the cap goes down they're sitting in a decent position to resign him. And the year after that Parise's contract is up, so Lou's got the future in mind.
 

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http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylt=Alws9x_N5nPCJdOyukUkZmN7vLYF?slug=ap-devils-lemaire&prov=ap&type=lgns

there goes your theory on taking it easy, the devils are bringing the big guys back. Jacques Lemaire is returning to the devils bench.
It's not really a shocking move though. The "bring back the glory days" movement started last offseason and appears to be continuing. They brought back Rolston, Holik, and Shanahan last year, now they bring in Lemaire...who's next?
 

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http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylt=AuYGvwe2j2dzOzEeqwYVZjxivLYF?slug=ap-devils-murphy&prov=ap&type=lgns


Defenseman Cory Murphy has signed a two-way contract with the New Jersey Devils.

Contract terms were not disclosed on Friday but Murphy’s salary will be determined by whether he plays for the Devils or one of their minor league affiliates.

Murphy split last season with Florida, Rochester in the AHL and Tampa Bay. He had five goals and 11 assists in 32 NHL games. He was claimed off re-entry waivers by the Lightning in January after starting the season with the Panthers.

Murphy, who spent six seasons playing in Europe, added two goals and four assists in five AHL appearances
 

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MD, I still dont get why so many Devils fans are antagonistic towards Zubrus. Yes, his contract is expensive for the number of points he puts up, but I've alwya seen his worth as much more than his goal output. He's not the greatest forward in the world, but I think that he is definitely a guy the Devils need. He is one of the hardest working forwards on the team, especially in the offensive zone. He frees up the puck and makes life easier for Elias, Clarkson, or whomever is his wing. He does need to shoot more, but he uses his size well (to move people, he should hit more) and does the job he should be doing. Devils fans somehow expect him to produce the points he did with Ovechkin. That simply wont happen. He has a job and he does it very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
MD, I still dont get why so many Devils fans are antagonistic towards Zubrus. Yes, his contract is expensive for the number of points he puts up, but I've alwya seen his worth as much more than his goal output. He's not the greatest forward in the world, but I think that he is definitely a guy the Devils need. He is one of the hardest working forwards on the team, especially in the offensive zone. He frees up the puck and makes life easier for Elias, Clarkson, or whomever is his wing. He does need to shoot more, but he uses his size well (to move people, he should hit more) and does the job he should be doing. Devils fans somehow expect him to produce the points he did with Ovechkin. That simply wont happen. He has a job and he does it very well.
My biggest gripe with Zubrus is he'll do really great work down low on a shift and then **** it all up with a stupid pass. When he's using his size effectively and throwing his body around, he's a good player. But I don't think he brings that consistently enough. Zubrus really is more suited to being a third line center than he is to centering a scoring line.

Now, to be fair to him, it was the Devils coaching staff who put him on a scoring line and it was Lou who offered him the money he's making, so it's not all his fault. I just happen to think that the Devils could spend the money they're spending on Zubrus on something else...like...oh I don't know...a defenseman maybe?:dunno:
 

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My biggest gripe with Zubrus is he'll do really great work down low on a shift and then **** it all up with a stupid pass. When he's using his size effectively and throwing his body around, he's a good player. But I don't think he brings that consistently enough. Zubrus really is more suited to being a third line center than he is to centering a scoring line.

Now, to be fair to him, it was the Devils coaching staff who put him on a scoring line and it was Lou who offered him the money he's making, so it's not all his fault. I just happen to think that the Devils could spend the money they're spending on Zubrus on something else...like...oh I don't know...a defenseman maybe?:dunno:
Yes, its true his passing sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. Careless, weak passes through the middle of the offensive zone dont cut it.

How do you feel about this second line center business. Lou has vowed to bring one in, most likely through trade. But we dont really have much to give up. I want to see Bergfors given a shot and not used as trade bait. Marleau, looking like an option now, is too expensive and not worth the risk given his most recent efforts. Im willing to give Zubrus another shot at the second line center. He can open up space for Elias to cycle and move around. And he can for the most part get it to Rolston for the big shot.
 

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Yes, its true his passing sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. Careless, weak passes through the middle of the offensive zone dont cut it.

How do you feel about this second line center business. Lou has vowed to bring one in, most likely through trade. But we dont really have much to give up. I want to see Bergfors given a shot and not used as trade bait. Marleau, looking like an option now, is too expensive and not worth the risk given his most recent efforts. Im willing to give Zubrus another shot at the second line center. He can open up space for Elias to cycle and move around. And he can for the most part get it to Rolston for the big shot.
At this point Zubrus is really the only option they have to center the second line. We know Rolston is going to play the wing (as he should) and that Elias is better on the wing. Which leaves Zubrus as the default second line center. Hopefully Lemaire can get some more consistency from him.

The sad part is the Devils really only have one natural center on the roster (although technically Parise was back in college) and that's Zajac. Beyond that it's unproven players or wingers playing out of position.

Bergfors I actually kind of feel sorry for. He should play on a scoring line but there's just no place on a scoring line right now. The only way he'd get those minutes would be to move Langenbrunner or Rolston to the third line. Moving Langs would break up the PZL line (which might actually not be a bad idea in the long run), and Rolston deserves top six minutes. He's pretty much stuck on the third line with either Pandolfo or Shanahan on the other side and who knows who in the middle.

Parise - Zajac - Rolston/Bergfors
Elias - Zubrus - Bergfors/Rolston
Shanahan/Pandolfo - ??? - Langenbrunner
Pandolfo/Shanahan - ??? - Clarkson

Something along those lines maybe...
 

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Yeah, the first two lines are pretty much set, unless Bergfors does replace Langenbrunner at some pooint. Its the third and fourth lines that will be so difficult to put together. You have three left wingers in Shanahan, Pandolfo, and PL3. There isnt really a center. And you have three right wingers in Bergfors, Clarkson, and Pilkarrainen, or however his name is spelled. There is not great way to put those lines together. I dont want to see either Shanahan or Pandolfo on the fourth line with someone like PL3 or Ilkka. But then neither of them has an effective center really, and Bergfors really deserves the chances hes never gotten.
 
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