Friday, April 13, 2007

Go, Zach, Go

Zach Parise and the Devils took Game One last night in front of 14,000 or so of their closest friends, families and fans. I've got some thoughts over at FanHouse about the game, but one that I didn't mention over there is that the better Parise plays, the more comfortable Sweet Lou Lamoriello will be letting Scott Gomez walk, right?


Anonymous said...

i didnt think he was a center, i guess that might make sense though. Im just really struggling with the idea that anyone would actually WANT to sign with the caps this summer, especially after showing little improvement from last year. Im sure it would be nice to have ao on your wing and all but im not sure thats enough. so that begs the question jp, who may be available after that first wave of top end centers.

JP said...

I think Parise is a natural pivot but doesn't play much center right now (I know he doesn't take many draws, at least - Zajac does on that line).

And the Caps' money is as green as anyone else's. They will have to overpay, somewhat, but if they see a guy they want, my gut tells me they'll get him.

As for second-tier guys, I hear names like Viktor Kozlov, Robert Lang (shudder)... Dainius Zubrus. :)

Anonymous said...

J.P., I love it! I'm a Devils fan, and I've been dropping the 'Sweet Louie Lams' shoutouts for years now. It's nice to see someone else who thinks that's an appropriate nickname for him.

And much like the New England Patriots do in football, New Jersey builds through the draft. I guess maybe other teams should start trying to steal our scouts and front office guys?

Parise and Zajac are both draft guys, with Parise really coming into his own his season.

The Caps should be able to do the same thing, but what's the major difference here? Is it the farm system, superior talent evaluation, what?

That said, I think the Devils will lose a lot in Gomez, if/when he goes elsewhere. He's a core guy, he's been there all along, and he's survived several rounds of letting players go; Arnott, for one.

I'd also like to see Jersey back away from the cap troubles, and get a blue line general, to run our powerplay. I can't express in words how pissed off I was when Niedermeyer chose to bail for Anaheim, even though Sweet Lou seemingly offered everything but the kitchen sink to bring his brother to Jersey, instead of letting Scott go.

Also, a quick question. Do you have a good link for a list of the upcoming free agents? I have yet to find one.

JP said...

I do, in fact, courtesy Mirtle: click here.

Here's a question for you as a Devils fan - if you can keep only one of Gomez and Rafalski, who do you keep?

And all Lou's are either "Sweet" or "Captain." It's just a fact of life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link J.P., I've been looking for a while and hadn't come up with anything.

That's the $1M question, isn't it? We lose Gomez, and we lose a valuable member of the EGG line, obviously our most (only, maybe?) productive line offensively. But as you noted, if the chemistry is there to promote Zajac, is it a must to keep Gomez?

You can also make the case that Rafalski is our best defensemen, runs the powerplay, etc., and it's usually much harder to find quality defensemen than it is W's or C's in this league.

That being said, I don't think any of our defensemen are that great to be honest. White is solid, of course Rafalski is solid, after that there is a huge dropoff. Paul Martin hasn't been great, Oduya is servicable, Lukowich gives me that uneasy 'here comes a critical turnover/penalty' feeling whenever he's near the puck.

I guess I'd prefer to keep Gomez, if only for assists and team chemistry. He's younger by 6 years, as well.

I think there are some quality defensemen becoming available via free agency this year, and losing $4.2M off your cap, even if you have to turn around and pay almost that to get someone else, would be worth it, I think.

Now, is it realistic that NJ can land a Sheldon Souray, Timmonen, Markov, etc.? Probably not, but if we lose Rafalski's 8 goals a year, surely there is another blueline specialist that can run our powerplay, and help bump us up from the middle of the pack in PP%. We've got enough solid D's, we need some creativity and offense on our blueline.

That's probably longer than you were expecting, sorry.