For those that read Devils posts on here, I'm the one known as Intern Mike. Sam's been relatively busy as of late so I'll take the liberty of continuing to submit my posts to read.
With the Devil's off-season starting a little earlier than we're used to, they are surrounded by a bunch of question marks yet again. I was fortunate to get some time from my good friend Todd Cordell to talk Devils hockey. I asked Todd a few questions in regards to where the Devils are at right now and how he thinks they ought to approach the coming months. Todd is a Devils writer and hockey insider for SportsHaze.com and also covers the Anaheim Ducks for DucksAndCover.com
Q: Todd, Thanks for taking the time to talk Devils hockey. With the Devils out of the playoffs, there are a lot of questions about the circumstances surrounding this team. Between how the team should approach going into the off-season, the Devils winning the draft lottery, and finding a successor to Jacques Lemaire for the second consecutive season, which of these scenarios do you find most intriguing?
A: Despite what Jacques Lemaire did for the Devils, and how much I love and respect the guy as a coach, I would have to say having a top-5 pick is more intriguing. I say this because the Devils already have a very good team - despite what this seasons record showed - and having the opportunity to add an elite prospect who could likely play in the NHL next season is very appealing to myself.
Q: The Devils won the draft lottery and will be selecting fourth overall in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. This is their first top ten pick since 1996. Knowing Lou, he has a tendency to shift up or down a few spots if he's got his sights set on a particular player. How do you think Lamoriello is going to approach the upcoming draft with such an early pick?
A: Unless he has his eyes really set on someone, I don't see him moving up or down. In my opinion he will just keep the pick and draft one of Landeskog, Larsson, Couturier, Nugent-Hopkins, or Huberdeau as in my opinion they are all 'can't miss players'.
Q: Once again, the Devils enter the off-season with a vacancy in the head coaching position. The Devil's instability behind the bench has been well-documented over the years. Do you think the continuation of the coaching carousel might deter potential coaching candidates from considering taking up the position?
A: Not at all, the Devils are a winning organization, and I think any coach serious about winning would love to coach the Devils.
Q: Left wing Zach Parise will enter this coming off-season as a restricted free agent. There are conflicting reports that Parise is unhappy in New Jersey, while others say he's willing to stay long term. There are also rumblings that teams are poised to submit offer sheets that he cannot refuse and the Devils will be unable to match. Despite claims, the Devils have the cap space to accommodate both Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. How do you think Parise should be handled from this point on and do you think these conflicting reports are from people that don't think Parise can or will remain a Devil, or from people that don't want him to remain a Devil?
A: I am not going to get into how I think Parise should be handled, but I will tell you how I think he will be handled. I think the Devils will go to arbitration with Parise, thus making him ineligible for an offer sheet.
As for the people commenting on Parise, I think most comments come from people who want him playing for their favorite team.
Q: The Devils roster featured a considerable number of youngsters from Albany that got called up due to injuries. Some stuck with the big team, others didn't. From the number of rookies that played this year, who can you see returning full time on next year's squad?
A: I think Palmieri, Josefson, Tedenby, Henrique and Fayne will all be regulars on the Devils next season. I feel they all played very well, and earned a spot on next years team.
Q: Obviously, Martin Brodeur is not getting any younger. With Brodeur entering the final year of his contract, which will likely be his final season of an admirable and decorated NHL career, how can you see his potential successor involved in next year's plans, if you think the Devils currently have one in the works?
A: I believe that Brodeur's successor is in the Devils system in Scott Wedgewood. With that being said, he is still likely a couple years away so I think the Devils should just re-sign Hedberg, and roll with him and Brodeur for one more season.
Q: Obviously, the majority of Devils fans would like to see Zach Parise inherit the captaincy now that Jamie Langenbrunner has taken been out of the picture. Parise aside, do you think there are any alternative candidates on this team viable for the captaincy?
A: Obviously with the contract Kovalchuk has, he has to be an option. Another possible candidate in my opinion would be Adam Henrique in a year or two, if the Devils decide to continue rotating captains until then, but that is obviously a long shot.
Q: How would you like to see the Devils approach the coming off-season?
A: To be honest, if the Devils take Parise to arbitration, keep their 1st round pick, and sign a solid defenseman in free agency I would be happy.
I want to thank Todd for taking the time to talk a little Devils hockey with me and shed his insight on our team. You can follow Todd on Twitter @ToddCordell. He gives great updates on Devils news, rumors, game day altercations, and on other NHL teams as well.