A season that started with so much hope and promise is officially on life support as the New Jersey Devils find themselves just two points ahead of the lowly Islanders for last place in the NHL just days before Christmas.
While it has been difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for their demise one thing that remains evident is the current combination of aging veterans with diminished skills and large salaries coupled with the inexperience of a number of injury replacements have made it nearly impossible for the Devils to put forth a consistent effort night in and night out.
At this current point in the season the Devils must make a series of drastic changes in order to even have a slight chance of making the playoffs. Lou has made it clear that he will continue to support Maclean, which means a personnel move is the most likely option. I believe that leadership has been a major issue with the team this year and therefore I believe a change must be made with the captaincy. I respect all that Langenbrunner has done for this organization but it is time for a change to be made. The Devils must trade Langenbrunner in order to truly effect the atmosphere in the locker room. Although unlikely, I believe the Devils must search for trading partners to explore all options when it comes to trading players such as Rolston or Elias who I would be inclined to offer up alongside top draft picks in order to free up cap space. With Parise's impending free agency it is critical now that the Devils do everything in their power to free up the appropriate funds necessary to lock the Devils star and future team captain in long term.
While it is easy to blame the Devils defensive corp for the teams swift downfall I find it difficult to place the blame solely on them. I refuse to believe that the loss of Paul Martin could not be offset by the additions of Volchenkov and Tallinder, especially with Martin having missed the majority of last season. This leads me to believe that Maclean's preferred coaching style must me changed immediately or he must be replaced.
I understand much of what I just wrote seems long winded and at times appears to be a knee jerk reaction to experiencing losing for the first time since I have been old enough to truly care about the Devils, however at this point one thing remains clear..... drastic changes must be made and made soon or else it will be a very long spring the the Devils and their fans.