Thursday, May 08, 2008
If Only They Could Get Younger...
Pandolfo (33) - Madden (35) - Gionta (29)
Zubrus (29) - Rupp (28) - Clarkson (24)
Brylin (34) - Zajac (22) - Asham (30)
Extras: Pelley (23)
Oduya (26) - Martin (27)
White (30) - Mottau (30)
Salvador (32) - Brookbank (27)
Extras: Vishnevski (28), Rachunek (28), Greene (25)
In any case, I feel I need to point this out not to cause alarm, to freak anyone out, or to call for Lou to dump the team and stock it with fresh prospects and draft picks. This isn't HF Boards. You always need experienced players to be successful. Moreover, if someone can still be effective, then by all means, they should be on the ice regardless of age (e.g. Chris Chelios). That said, I am pointing this out because over the next few seasons the Devils core will need to be changed again. Elias, Madden, Pandolfo, and Langenbrunner are not getting younger and their eventual replacements will need to be considered. Zach Parise is already part of that core, I think, and so could Travis Zajac if he rebounds from his recent season-long slump. The defense isn't so bad; it needs stability moreso than younger talent. It also needs signed players, as I believe 5 of the 9 are free agents. Regardless, the "future" of White, Martin, and (yes) Oduya aren't exactly young guys - they are in their primes right now. As for Brodeur? Well, we have seen Patrick Roy (excellent through age 37) and Dominik Hasek is still going strong at age 43 - and both are legendary goaltenders. There's no reason to believe that Brodeur - a legendary goaltender himself - will suddenly fall from grace now that he's 36. But since he's the foundation of the team; he too cannot play forever.
The next few seasons are going to be interesting to see how the Devils organization acts to keep the Devils a contending team in the NHL. What they do in this offseason could become crucial, with respect to who they draft, who they sign (prospects and current NHL players), and what they do in preseason. This summer could play a large role of whether they remain among the best or slip down to requiring an actual rebuilding period in 5 years from now.
I kind of wish the devils would rebuild. I'm saying trade everyone of any value and start from scratch, but there has to be a realization that the devils farm system is depleted. The devils were not contenders this year, and unless there is miracle signing in the offseason, they will not be contenders for a while. I would much rather they try to pick up some young talent and have them develop in Sutter's system, and with the guidence of guys like Brylin (I still disagree that he's less effective now) and Madden. Of course, the problem is that you waste some of Marty's remaining years, but what can you do?