The past few months have dragged for Devils fans, who are ready to see their team on the ice, fighting to get back in the playoffs; instead of headlining breaking offseason news.
It's time for one last look back. Here are the three things that disappointed me the most over the offseason, and the three things that made it even harder to wait for October.
3. Losing David Clarkson
Clarkson fought his way onto the team from the OHL after going undrafted. Over 7 seasons, he worked hard to become a highly respected power forward. He wasn't easily injured, and he provided a ton of energy through his physical play and constant chirping. He also became an important charitable figure in the Newark area.
Though Clarkson's numbers may be replaceable, his intangibles are not. Best of luck to him in Toronto, I'm sure he'll enjoy that fat paycheck.
2. Re-signing Marek Zidlicky
I understand why Zidlicky was re-signed: he's the most capable offensive defenseman on the Devils. However, I still cringe at the thought of watching him for another year. Arguably, there are three young players (Gelinas, Urbom, and Merrill) who deserve to see a significant amount of ice time this season. I would be excited to watch them make mistakes and learn, rather than watch Zidlicky make the same mistakes over and over again. I think the Devils took a step back with the signing.
1. Ilya Kovalchuk's Retirement
The reasons for Kovy's retirement are probably more complicated than any of us know. In the long run, it's good that the Devils don't have to deal with his outrageous contract. In the short term, it sucks to lose such an incredible player.
He was the best skater on the team, and he had one of the nastiest shots in the NHL.
3. Re-signing Adam Henrique
I started to get worried when Henrique was still a free agent a couple of weeks ago. But his commitment to the team became apparent when he signed his new contract. There is no doubt in my mind, he will be worth more than $4 million per season when his contract expires. Along with Zajac, Larsson, and Schneider, he is one of the most important members of the Devils team.
2. Signing the Duo from Newfoundland
Clowe was a key player on the Sharks. Ryder was a key player on every team that he's been on. The both have a wealth of experience, and they provide much needed offensive depth. While they might not be up and coming and exciting, I believe they'll help the Devils make it back to the playoffs this year.
Clowe may seem like a liability, but he's ready to work hard to prove people wrong. Most players will arrive in New Jersey in the coming days. However, Clowe is already there, skating with a few young guys who are trying to earn a spot on the roster.
1. Trading for Cory Schneider
The Schneider trade was a complete fluke. The Canucks organization was backed into a corner, and they desperately needed to move a goalie to the Eastern Conference. Lou made one of the deals of his career.
I can't wait to see Schneider in a Devils jersey. His numbers prove that he's an elite goaltender. I don't understand how people are picking the Devils for the 8th spot in the Metropolitan Division. They now have one of the best goalie tandems in the league. They will not be losing games consistently.
Moving forward, I think that these 6 factors will have the biggest impact on the Devils. In my opinion, the positives outweigh the negatives, and the Devils are an improved team.
Thanks for reading!