Friday, June 29, 2007


Rupp Remains, Oduya May Not

In today's Star Ledger, Rich Chere brings some news related to Mike Rupp, Johnny Oduya, and Brian Rafalski. I think you should read it, but I'll summarize the article anyway:
  1. Mike Rupp signed a 2 year deal with $1 million. For $500k/year, I have no issue with Rupp remaining with the team. He brings some skill with some physical presence; a valid fourth line player. However, considering the recent signing of Jari Viuhkola and the possible emergence of some Lowell Devils (e.g. David Clarkson, Rod Pelley, Petr Vrana), I wonder how much action Rupp will be seeing in the future.
  2. The Devils are close to a deal with Brian Rafalski. Good. This means the Devils can focus on shoring up their offense - something that definitely needs to be addressed after a season where the team scored an average of 2.51 goals per game (that's 27th in the league).
  3. Johnny Oduya was not given a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent. I'm very confused by this. Oduya played well above expectations, in my opinion, and definitely showed he can play like a top 4 defenseman (especially when he had to for stretches this past season). All in his first NHL year. Does he need work on somethings? Of course, I'd like him to be more physical and work on his shot from the point; but he's definitely a keeper. The article states a rather odd quote from Lou Lamoriello:
    "Oduya was not qualified," general manager Lou Lamoriello confirmed. "There was no reason for the decision, but we will do everything we can on (Sunday) to sign him. We want to keep him."
  4. So why didn't Lou just offer him a qualifying offer and not have to worry about this? Does he want to sign Oduya for less money? How can there be no reason for the decision? Lou even says he wants to keep Oduya; this doesn't make any sense to me. So much so I put a separate number here.
Anyway, Paul Martin, Zach Parise, and Cam Janssen were all given qualifying offers so they will remain as restricted free agents. I can't imagine any team risking so much compensation for giving them an offer sheet, so suffice it to say, they will remain as Devils in the coming season. Well, as far as we know anyway.

The offseason of signing free agents officially begins next week. Where will Scott Gomez end up? Who will the Devils sign to replace Gomez should he leave? How unhappy will I be if that signing is not a #1 center or a player who is good enough to be a #1 center? Will the Devils address their issues on offense - which is more of a pressing need than, say, size or defense? All these questions and more will be answered quite soon.


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