It's summertime and that means things have gotten a bit slow in the hockey world and in the blogging one too. With that in mind, the SBNation hockey blogs have gotten together to do some cross interviewing about the coming season and each other's respective teams. Here's what John from In Lou We Trust had to say about the Devils, check out his page for the other half of the interview.
Odin Mercer: What about the devils? Martin Brodeur is obviously the starter, but what's after him? Can anyone step up if he goes down again?
John Fischer: The Devils signed 28 year old Yann Danis, who recently had experience backing up Joey MacDonald on the Island for more than a handful of games. Danis, like MacDonald, did fairly well for someone relatively inexperienced with the NHL and behind, well, the Islanders skaters. While I certainly hope Brodeur will be healthy all season long, I have a little confidence that Danis can do what Clemmensen did if need be. It's expected that he'll be the backup where Jeff Frazee will continue developing in Lowell.
Odin Mercer: What was up with the Devils come free agency time? There were a lot of rumblings that some of the players that left never got offered anything really so they started looking elsewhere. What's the story with that?
John Fischer: Well, with the Devils trying to get the full story is really tough. Lou has been candid on July 1 that A) the salary cap will go down after this season and B) he wants to give the younger players down in Lowell and in the system a chance at making the roster. So I'm inferring from that the other UFAs were older and not necessarily must-have players at this point, and so Lou is setting the Devils up to be younger and cheaper. (Johnny Oduya being the exception in both cases) That will be important when Paul Martin becomes a UFA next summer and Zach Parise becomes a RFA in 2011. And no, I don't recommend an offer sheet on Parise. Lou will crush those who mess with him.
Odin Mercer: Very true. You don't want to become like the Flyers or Sharks, having to shed salary in a hurry. I don't think we'll be looking to steal him away. We're building on the cheap. Besides if he has another big year I'm sure the volume of picks to be given up for that kind of offer sheet would be massive.
Odin Mercer: You mentioned some guys would be coming up from Lowell... who should we be looking to fill out the NJ roster?
John Fischer: Well, the youth movement will really be more in earnest over the next two seasons when many of the older Devils are 2 years older and have their contracts end. Right now, Rod Pelley has already been touted as a defensive center - which makes sense because he has a little NHL experience and is really the third best center by default on the team.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond is an enforcer, goon, etc. and he basically showed last season he can do what Mike Rupp mainly does, so he's penciled in. While there aren't many spots open right now, Nicklas Bergfors (RW), Matt Corrente (D), Tyler Eckford (D), and Matt Halischuk (RW) could make some strong cases.
Odin Mercer: What other things should Phoenix fans want to know about the Devils? Since we play so infrequently, I'm not really sure about the personalities on your team outside of Brodeur and Parise.
John Fischer: The Devils have a lot of team-traits. While the Devils may not have a "big banger," no one on the team is soft. While the Devils have defensive specialists at forward and defense, every skater on the team is committed to solid positioning and back checking. In a way, the Devils don't market players specifically so a lack of star-power/personality is seen by outsiders. But once you see the Devils regularly, you "get it." You will also want to know that the Devils fans have long memories. We booed the living hell out of Gretzky for the Mickey Mouse comment - made back in the early 80s
Odin Mercer: Eh, we've even started booing him of late. Seriously. Any other coach with his record would have been canned 2 seasons ago.
Odin Mercer: Are you looking forward to Jacques Lemaire part Deux in New Jersey? How long before he abandons the new style and goes back to the trap?
John Fischer: The range of opinions have gone from "experienced, former Devil coach, knows what he's doing, good for youth" to, well, what you're asking here and therefore hating this move. I'm still trying to warm myself up to Lemaire; I want to see how he does in preseason before actively liking/disliking him. As far as the new style goes, as much as I liked it, I doubt it will return. Whether it will be replaced by an emphasis on counter-attacking hockey, who knows.