Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Thank You St. Louis

The Devils acquired defenseman Bryce Salvador by trading Cam Janssen to St. Louis. This is reported in a lot of places: TSN, Gulitti, 2MA, etc.

Let's briefly compare each player.

Janssen is a St. Louis native who hasn't played any games this season, likes to throw big hits, throw punches, and is good for about 3-4 minutes a night.

Salvador has an impressive +12 (team leader) on a surpisingly-not-bad-in-stats defensive team (14th in average goals against per game with 2.71; 5th in average shots against per game 26.9 - better than NJ) and has the third highest average ice time on the Blues with 19:30 a night.

In short, the Devils traded an enforcer for St. Louis' #3 defenseman.

I know Salvador is a UFA after this season and this leaves New Jersey with 9 defensemen but...


Clearly, this is a steal for New Jersey. They gave up very little for someone who can contribute quite a bit. And if Salvador falters, it's OK, the Devils have at least 2 other d-men they can go to. The arrival of Salvador may spell the end of ice time with New Jersey for Andy Greene and/or Sheldon Brookbank; but that's perfectly fine. They can go to Lowell for minutes. It could also mean Vitaly Vishnevski could be featured in a sharp suit up in the press box as opposed to wearing #2. There are many options here. Maybe Sutter will have to go with pairings of three.

Forget about the logjam on defense for a moment and just remember: all it took for Salvador was a guy who hasn't even seen the ice in a New Jersey uniform so far this season. I look forward to his arrival for Friday's game.

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Dang, ain't you painting a rosy picture there? In terms of productivity, you're spot on. But you're still a bit too optimistic here. We can't disregard the logjam it has created, one that already existed. We had a position of strength with our deep defensemen who were basically expendable. We didn't get what we needed in a trade and we lost somebody who can beat the CRAP out of just about anybody and brings a needed energy. Rupp and Asham fight, but that's about all they are good for. Same could be said for Janssen, I guess, but I think he that little something extra.

Overall, still a good deal. I don't want to disregard that or entirely disagree, just a bit sunny on your side. Which is fine.
Energy is fine, but can you honestly say that it has ever helped us win a game? Its been 50/50. In games where Cam fights, we've lost just as much as we've won. So does fighting really help a teams energy? or just the perception of fans.

Cam brought nothing to the team. He probably wasn't even going to get a chance to play this season with guys like Clarkson, Asham and Rupp in the lineup. Was Sutter going to take a chance with him with the race being so tight for the top?

So we basically traded a guy who was sitting anyway for a guy that can be our #2 or #3 defenseman. I think painting it sunny was understating how great this trade was.
In short,the Devils stood by, while the Penguins and Senators improved themselves.

Not sure why this is such a fantastic move -defenseman is NOT what this team needed. We needed a bonafide scoring threat or a bonafide point man on the powerplay.

It's amazing what the Devils have done this year considering what they have lost the last 3 years, but I will be surprised if they get past the 2nd round of the playoffs.
I have to agree with 'Anonymous' here, and the upshot of that is, another season of me being less and less thrilled with Sweet Lou, and his GM skill set.

We get rid of Janssen, fine. We get Salvador, meh, whatever.

A blind man could have told us we needed a legit Top 4 Wing, thanks to Gionta not producing, along with a freaking point man on our PP! All we heard, from early January was 'Devils on the hunt for Top 4 D/W'. And what happened? Essentially a zero sum gain! So we couldn't get Dan Boyle, understandable, but Brian Campbell being moved proves there were players out there, that could have been signed to long term deals! Hockeynumbers.com estimated we had around $11 in salary available, through the end of the year, to spend in a trade and sign, yet we do nothing? Don't get me wrong, I'm not begging for a mercenary here, but surely some of these guys could have been gotten, and held, long term.

Furthermore, I don't see any names of Free Agents currently, that will fit our needs after this season is over. Are we that sure our minor league clubs are going to produce talent? And if so, why haven't we seen any of it to this point?

Again, I have to revert back to the pre-lockout approach, Lou took. We've forever had our backs up against that salary cap, thanks to the deals he made right before the lockout. Not smart. At this point, I'd have preferred the Ted Leonsis approach! I mean, some of it goes along with carrying players from 3 Stanley Cup runs, but the guys we have left, some of which are role players, at best.

I'm just hoping and praying Lou doesn't try another jack move, to appoint himself Head Coach during the Playoffs, or getting to the 2nd round is generous, at best!
So many comments, I like it. I'll address it in another post. But briefly...

This is a fantastic acquisition because Lou got someone who can bring something to the table - an experienced defensive defensemen. That may not mean much now, but Andy Greene, Mike Mottau, Johnny Oduya, and Sheldon Brookbank are playoff neophytes and I think even Paul Martin has only so much playoff experience. Salvador's experience will be key in the playoffs.

Most importantly, this can yield pretty good benefits for the cost of a guy who hasn't even seen the ice this season and isn't that good at anything but hitting and fighting. That alone is why I love the move.

The bonafide forwards and point-men were going to cost NJ dearly. So Lou went for a deal to tweak the lineup. I got no issue with that.
Okay, but please address this any way to see fit, John.

Q: At what point does Lou have to do a cost/benefit analysis, and realize we are no longer going to be able to stay relevent in the current NHL, unless he finds a way to address clear needs, via trade and free agency? What "cost" is acceptable, for long term success?
Check the latest 2/27 post for my expanded thoughts on the trade.

Superfan: I'm not sure why you're asking that. The league dynamics change from year to year with a salary cap that changes it's limits; not to mention that with every successful team, some teams tend to modify their style to fit the times. Like how people demanded size after Anaheim won the Cup this past year. You can't plan ahead for the next five years unless you're in a total rebuilding mode.

And the Devils aren't in such a rebuilding stage: the Devils are currently in first place with this current, Cam-less roster. I think that alone demonstrates relevancy.

Consider this: If Lou traded Gionta, Vishnevski, Bergfors, and a 2008 first rounder for Hossa and Hossa decides to sign elsewhere after the season, the Devils basically lose the trade for that alone. They gave up quite a bit of assets for a few months of Hossa and unless that led New Jersey to the Cup, the short benefit wouldn't justify the long term cost - especially if Gionta rebounds, Vish improves, Bergfors becomes a good player, and that 1st rounder turns out to be a hot talent.
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