Discuss: A Look Forward To Devils’ Goaltenders Of The Future

 

At the end of this season the two current Devils goaltenders’ contracts expire. For arguments sake lets say that Martin Brodeur retires and the Devils decide not to bring back Johan Hedberg. I think that the Devils should NOT go after a current NHL goaltender(s). I think the most effective way for the Devils to succeed in goal is from within their system.

Jeff Frazee and Keith Kinkaid should be the guys to fill the spots on the roster. I think that the Devils should highly consider doing what is popular in the league right now and not have a true number one goaltender but go with who is hot. Now both of these goaltenders have pretty promising stats from their play in the AHL.

Here are Kinkaid’s stats:

Not bad numbers for a rookie goaltender. I think that with some more time in the AHL this season he could be a great part of a tandem for the Devils next season. Now there maybe some growing pains but that is going to happens with any young goaltender. But if the Devils can upgrade their defense over the course of this season and off season there is no reason why Kinkaid can’t be affective in net.

Here are Frazee’s stats:

Now Frazee might have a a losing record so far this season in the AHL but look at the prior season’s stats. They are all in the same range in terms of GAA and SV%. His consistency is very good. Think that if he gets on a roll in the NHL he can be a great goaltender but if he goes on a cold streak it could be ugly for him. Again consider the growing pains but as a tandem he could be a great young goaltender for the Devils to have on their roster.

Now I know the Devils will be thinking about how they are going to be replacing the future Hall of Famer  but I think their best bets are from within. They shouldn’t have to worry about spending money on one true starting goaltender. One goaltender is not the way teams are winning. Most teams are doing a tandem much like how the Devils are doing now with Brodeur and Hedberg. Instead the Devils should focus on upgrading the defense and let the kids grow in net much like Brodeur did when his career started.

Discuss: Should The Devils Make A Move For Bobby Ryan

With the Ducks being one of the worst teams in the NHL, it seems like changes are going to be coming to the Ducks. Rumors have been swirling that Bobby Ryan could be on the move. The New Jersey native still have 5 years left on his deal at $5.1 million a year. The Devils have $3.1 million left in cap space so if they were to make a move they would need to move at least $2 million.

Now keep in mind this is NOT fact in any way. Its merely just my opinion.

Right now the Devils are one of the bubble teams to make the playoffs. Ryan’s offensive skill would definitely help the Devils’ struggling offense. I think the player that could go to Anaheim would be David Clarkson. Clarkson would be a great player that could impact the Ducks in other ways than scoring goals.

So lets say this deal happens and Clarkson goes (along with probably some draft picks and prospects) and Zajac comes back here are some good line combinations.

Parise-Zajac-Ryan
Elias-Henrique-Kovalchuk
Sykora-Carter-Zubrus
Tedenby-Mills/Pelley-Janssen

If you ask me that gives the Devils 4 solid lines that can provide something offensively. This gives the Devils a true right wing on the top line. Ryan is that kind of player that can push the Devils into the playoffs and possibly beyond. So in my opinion I think the Devils should go after him.

My final point I think Ryan is the kind of player that can keep the team competitive enough for Parise to want to resign even if it means taking a pay cut. Parise wants to win so if Ryan can help the Devils win he’ll stay even if its for $6 million a year.

Discuss: Lets Say Parise Does Go To Los Angeles…

So going around the rumor mill is that Zach Parise could be headed to Los Angeles in exchange for Jonathan Bernier and a top player like Dustin Brown or Jack Johnson. Now you maybe thinking to yourself ‘Why would Lou Lamoriello trade the captain?’ There is one huge reason why. 1 year contract.

Over the summer, Parise signed a 1 year contract after being a restricted free agent. The second he signed that deal, everyone and their mothers’ started to speculate that Parise was going to leave New Jersey come this summer. Now we all knew going into the season that there was going to be a slew of rumors but something about this rumor makes a lot of sense for both teams that could lead to an actual deal.

Now lets go over what the Devils could be getting in exchange:

Jonathan Bernier is a 23 year old goaltender who is splitting time with Jonathan Quick. Its seems that at the moment Quick is going to be their main guy in net which leaves Bernier as valuable trade bait for the Kings. Last season Bernier had a record of 25-11 with a GAA of 2.48 and a .913 save percentage. Pretty good numbers if you ask me. He would bring the Devils youth in net and will be the heir to the net once Martin Brodeur retires. I’d like to see this.

Dustin Brown is currently the captain of the Kings so we know Brown could be a leader in the locker room. Last season Brown scored 28 goals and 29 assists with a +17 +/- rating. I could imagine Brown playing right wing on the first line with Kovalchuk. With that combination Brown’s assists would fly through the roof and more importantly helping Kovalchuk put more pucks in the back of the net. That is something all Devils fans want to see. That is a win in my book.

Jack Johnson is a great offensive defenseman that would be a huge help on the powerplay giving the Devils a threat on the point. If there is one thing the Devils are lacking right now is offensive defenseman. The best offensive defenseman on the Devils at the moment is Andy Greene and he has not been cutting it. Last season Johnson had 5 goals and 37 assists. Again a huge get for the Devils.

Now the Devils would have to give something back in return with Parise. My guess since there is a goaltender coming to the Devils, a goaltender is going to have to go and its not going to be Brodeur. My guess is Hedberg will be the one joining Parise on a flight to LA. Hedberg has been playing really well this season and comes with a rather cheap deal. The only thing keeping him is if he doesn’t decide to waive his no trade clause.

Only time will tell. Feel free to give your opinions on this rumor.

Read and Discuss: 5 Burning Questions

Hockey Buzz has a series of questions that surround the New Jersey Devils. They are great questions that really make you think about the Devils and the current state they are in.  I will answer those questions…

1. Will the Devils finish in the top-six of the Eastern Conference, and why or why not?”

I personally do not believe they Devils will finish top 6 in the East. If you look at the standings right now and look at who is currently below the 6th seed, you will understand why I say no. (Also, I know the season just started.) The currently Stanley Cup champions are in 11th place. You have to figure that they will not be down there much longer. Its WAY too early to not consider them to be in the top 6 let alone top 3. Tampa Bay is sitting at 12th. There is too much fire power in that offense to not make the playoff or at most top 6 in the conference. They still have the pieces that brought them to the Eastern Conference finals last season.  A lot of the middle of the pack teams like Carolina, Florida, Toronto, Montreal and quite possibly the Islanders can make a run that can push the Devils out of the top 6 or out of the playoffs all together. So I say nay to top 6.

2. If Martin Brodeur struggles with injuries throughout the year and misses a fair amount of games, can Johan Hedberg hold up?”

Johan has quite a bit of NHL experience at being the number one guy. But I think given his age he may not last. I think it would safer to say that towards the end of the season we see more of Keith Kinkaid of Jeff Frazee. It has become a trend in the NHL to not have a steady number one goaltender but a goaltending tandem. I think Johan may last for a while on his own but he will need to be relieved more often than Brodeur has in recent years when he was healthy. I think a tandem is the smart thing to do especially if the Devils are on the verge of making the playoffs and need Johan for the playoffs.

“3. Ilya Kovalchuk is currently ahead of Zach Parise in the point category. Will it be like that at the end of the year?”

Yes, Kovalchuk will have more points than Parise but the bigger stat here will be +/-. Parise will blow Kovalchuk out of the water in that category. Don’t get me wrong Parise will be up there in points but Kovalchuk will have more on the simple fact that Parise is a better two player. Parise may sacrifice points to be a better defensive player.

4. Will any of/or both of Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise finish in the top 15 in points this season?”

Nope. If the the first few games showed the exact reason why. So far the Devils have never scored more than 3 goals in a game. (The Los Angeles game the 4th goal was an empty netter, doesn’t really count) If that trend continues and the Devils are winning games via the shootout, I can’t see them being in the top 15. If anyone on the Devils is going to, it’ll be Kovalchuk.

5. Will Adam Larsson be one of three finalists for the Calder Award, and will he win it? If not, who will?”

Finalist, yes. Winner, yes given that his play is one of the reasons why the Devils give up less goals and proves that he is positively effecting the powerplay. He is no doubt the anchor the defense in the future and if he can really show that in his first year, he will win the Calder.