Friday is the NHL’s draft, and loomed is the question of who the New Jersey Devils will select as their 1st round pick. The revolving question for the Devils is likely the same question other teams’ decision-makers are asking themselves; “What do we need to make the team better?”
The Devils could be quite content with their offensive roster being that their forwards had quite a productive year. Zach Parise, a 30-goal scorer during the year, is not officially written in as a re-sign for this July and could leave a void in the offense the team vitally needs. This is a tough spoonful to engulf, but with unrelenting respects to Martin Brodeur for an outstanding 2012 season, a broader question is how much longer can he carry on with such impact as his age continues to grow?
No Devils fan wishes to see the end of such a remarkable career that Brodeur has given the Devils. His presence during all three Devils Stanley Cup victories is a tattoo for the fan’s memory. There is a rooting inside that wants to see him go for another decade, and it could very well be that he has the capability of doing so. Nevertheless, the inevitability that every rational individual/fan/player must adhere to is that Marty is just shy of immortal, and when he is ready to retire, the Devils will need to replace him.
With this quite saddening notion, as well as the fact that current backup Johan Hedberg isn’t much younger at 36, New Jersey must prep for the inevitable goalie acquisition. Malcom Subban, brother of the Canadiens’ P.K. Subban, is a heavily favored choice for the Devils’ opening round pick. Subban, with a line of athleticism that includes yet a younger hockey playing sibling (Jordan,) is ranked 1st among North American goalies by NHL Central Scouting. Subban, whom is 6’1 and 188 lbs, has grown acclaim playing in the OHL for the Belleville Bulls. In three seasons with the Bulls of Belleville, his record was 35-31-6 with a .913 save percentage.
Subban is one of two goalies anticipated to be picked before the Devils 29th spot, and analysts predict Andrey Vasilevski of Russian minor-league team, Tolpar Ufa, going for the New York Rangers as the 28th pick. The Rangers could opt to select Subban for themselves, and en lieu of such events, Vasilevski had a .931 save percentage in 27 games played with Tolpar Ufa.
The Devils did have the highest average age of any team in the NHL in 2012, and it could be very true that goal tending might not be in the mind of the team. Despite selecting defenseman Adam Larsson as the 4th overall pick in 2011, Bryce Salvador, there are slim chances a Devils’ defenseman could be added. Bryce Salvador is now 36 years of age, and his call of Devils-duty could be coming to a close soon as well.
Talks of draft selections are quite straining. The mentioning of adding players due to the age, contract-status, or overall performance of a current roster player could be considered insulting. Current roster players must attempt not to take any of it personal as is the way of business in the national hockey league.
The Devils of mentioning can’t take it too personal, however. Personnel making the selections surely have in mind that this Devils squad made it closer to the Stanley Cup than 28 other teams. If management had their druthers, and if they were certain this same roster would be in the Stanley Cup Championship for the 2012-2013 season, need would be a very slightly mentioned word when it came to making changes to the lineup as it is.
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