With the NHL season quickly approaching here is part 4 of our Writers Roundtable series. In this article Mike Luci, Brett Minieri, Alex Chauvancy, and Brian Bobal discuss such topics as Devil’s history, the addition of a third jersey, and they all play a game of would you rather. Enjoy:
1. Which former Devil (in their prime) would you add to the current roster? And why?
ML: Patrik Elias without a doubt. His 40-goal, 96-point season in 2001 was just a mere flash of what he was truly capable of if he played in a more offensively contusive playing system throughout the majority of his career. Elias was fast, a perennial passer, and had no problem putting pucks on net. He would fit perfectly on a line with Henrique, Zajac, or Kyle Palmieri, and would have been a great player for the younger guys to be around. The Elias from 15 years ago would unquestionably average 70-80 points in the modern NHL, even on the recent stretch of Devils teams that weren’t as committed to the trapping style of hockey, a reputation the organization is still having trouble disassociating itself from.
BM: With the key words being “current roster” and knowing we have a glaring hole at the FWD position it’d be easy to rattle off a few names that make me long for happier days of yore. Alex Mogilny is the first that comes to mind, and though his tenure wasn’t long here, he is arguably one of the most talented players to don the Devils sweater and his impact was immeasurable. The other most obvious, and it still stings to say, is Zach Parise. He’s exactly the type of player we need (and have always needed) and it still hurts that he’s gone. I’d also make a compelling argument for Patrik Elias in his prime. That said, it’s hard to argue against Scott Neidermayer. He’s just that good. A dynamic playmaker on offense and defense, he’d help a lot of our players and issues all over the ice.
AC: Maybe a bit off the radar, but Brendan Shanahan in his prime would be a great fit for what the Devils currently need. A big, scoring forward with extremely high upside offensively would be so helpful for what the team needs right now. He’d be a great fit for the Devils in his prime.
BB:If we are going any former Devil, you have to go with Jaromir Jagr. His resume gives enough reason to justify that decision. The Devils have never had a Hart Trophy winner or an Art Ross Trophy winner. A Jagr in his prime would make the current Devils a playoff team. Not a Cup contender, but a playoff team.
2. Would a 3rd jersey be a welcome addition to this new organization or not?
ML: Like the higher numbers, Cammalleri wearing No. 13, and Devils players finally appearing on social media, the ramifications would be felt on a more cultural or social basis than anything else. While a new jersey won’t help the team’s place in the standings, it would surely personify the team’s overdue transition into the modernized NHL era. The Devils have always been an organization committed to tradition that’s greatly valued sentimentality of its longtime players, personnel, and philosophical outlook, particularly during Lamoriello’s illustrious reign. While another jersey would arguably break some of these traditional values that Lamoriello jealously protected, one can argue that a new jersey could hold a new traditional value of the organization that signifies the Devils are moving forward into a brand new era.
BM: With this new regime (and new marketing director) anything is possible. For one, I actually appreciate Lou’s way of doing things when I came to tradition. The Yankees don’t have a 3rd uniform while much of MLB does. Know why? Cause they’re the 27-time world champion New York Yankees, that’s why. Lou tried to instill that same winning ethos—and succeeded to a large degree. So I don’t think we “need” one per se. That said, I believe (also as Lou said) that we have one. It’s our green and red St. Pats jersey which I LOVE that he brought back. That’s the “third jersey” I’d actually love to see more than once a season. Only suggestion I’d have is to bring back the red and green “white” home jersey to wear as an option. That is my all-time favorite.
AC: The fans would love it. I don’t really care for it either way. I would prefer if the Devils wore their red and green uniforms more often than just for St Patrick’s Day (You’d think around Christmas time would make a lot of sense). It all depends on how the 3rd jersey would look too. We’ve seen teams come out and fail miserably with alternative uniforms over the years. So if they’re going to do it, they have to get it right. Especially since it would be the 1st time the Devils have a 3rd jersey
BB: I think a 3rd jersey would be a welcome addition only if it is done right. I do not want a black alternate (black alternates have been done to death). For a team that rarely turns a profit, an alternate sweater will help bring in some more revenue. If they want to go in the direction of an alternate, and I said this last week, take the jerseys from the Jersey Devils from the old Eastern Hockey League. One of the jerseys is on display at the Prudential Center. The logo of the devil clutching the state of New Jersey is incredibly unique.
3. Would you rather have the Devils make the playoffs as the 8 seed next year or have the 1st overall pick in the upcoming draft? And explain your reasoning.
ML: Interesting question. You could probably answer it in the form of an entire article but I’ll give the condensed form of my two cents on this particular scenario. Going into this season, the Devils are expected by fans and the entire hockey world, to play the role of a genuine rebuilding team, whose personnel secretly aspires to finish low enough to have the best chance possible at winning the 2016 draft lottery. Having said that, there are countless examples of teams in the past who have gone into the season with rosters that appear too uncompetitive on paper to get so much as a sniff of the playoffs, and wind up proving the experts wrong. If this turns out to be the case for the Devils this year, it means they have the right foundation in place of younger players that were sorely underestimated, and weren’t as bleak as they’re currently perceived to be. I’d obviously love for this to be the case for the said reasons. If the playoff runs of teams like the Los Angeles Kings (2012), Edmonton Oilers (2006) and Philadelphia Flyers (2010) tell us anything, all you have to do is get into the playoffs, where anything could happen.
BM: Tough question. On one hand, getting the #1 pick would mean we were basically terrible. And per our last RT discussion regarding fans patience, no one wants to see that. As much as that pick would help us, I think moving forward at this stage of a rebuild, I’d prefer to see solid, competitive hockey form a young team that’s learning
a new system—and learning what it means to play together and win.
AC: This is a tough one for me. I don’t condone tanking, but the way the system is set up, it allows teams to throw in the towel in November. We’ve seen teams get in as the 8th seed the last couple years like Toronto and it was a complete fluke They couldn’t sustain the success. The Calgary Flames will be next if they don’t approve on their abysmal possession numbers in 2014-15. Unless the Devils show significant improvement next season and aren’t relying on ridiculous goaltending from Schneider, then I would honestly prefer the 1st overall pick. I think that would give them a better chance of sustaining long-term success rather than being the 8th seed in the playoffs then falling out of it for another 2-3 years.
BB: It’s so tough to say I’d rather have the Devils miss the playoffs, but at this point it is hands down better for them to miss the playoffs. If the Devils are lucky enough to land Auston Matthews, they will have finally found an offensive player to build around. Let’s just hope that Shero locks him up for life so he doesn’t bail on the team – cough Zach Parise. Making the playoffs, believe it or not, would be detrimental for a team looking to load up on young offensive studs.