Get those two names out of your mind. Obviously, every NHL team would like to have Alexander Semin or Shane Doan on their team. One is a talented scorer who sometimes takes shifts off and the other is a hard-working leader with great all-around play. The New Jersey Devils have been slightly linked to Semin and not at all to Doan. Let’s assume those two guys are not coming to New Jersey. Certainly, GM Lou Lamoriello has to do something to replace the scoring of Zach Parise and Alexei Ponikarovsky, right? Here are four guys who would make the most sense to come to New Jersey, besides the biggest two guys left on the free agent market.
The first choice is perhaps the most logical. They could very likely re-sign Petr Sykora. The Czech winger had a strong season for the Devils last year, working on a veteran’s minimum contract. Teamed with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus for most of last season, the 35-year old recorded 21 goals and 23 assists, as he played in all 82 regular season games. He can probably be had for a good price and with his accurate shot, he can still be a productive guy. While his legs, speed, forechecking and overall skill ability isn’t what it used to be, he is still a feared shot in the league. He would make a lot of sense.
Next on our list is Richard Park. A member of the Pittsburgh Penguns last year, the Korean winger scored seven goals and had seven assists in 54 games. The 36-year old is nothing to write home about offensively, but he embodies everything a Devil should be. He hustles, finishes checks, effectively helps kill penalties and is a good leader. He would be a nice fit somewhere on the bottom two lines. He wouldn’t cost much either; he was on a one-year, two-way deal last year with Pittsburgh.
The next player the Devils should really look into is Andrew Brunette. The soon to be 39-year old winger was with the Chicago Blackhawks last year and netted 12 goals and reached 15 assists in 78 games. While Brunette’s teams haven’t been in the playoffs all that often, when they are in the tournament, he’s a clutch player. In 49 postseason games, he has 35 points with 17 of those being goals. Of course, he scored one of the biggest goals in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Side note…to force that Game 7, do you know who scored the overtime goal in Game 6 for the Wild in that playoff round? That would be Richard Park.
Brunette would be another value buy, last year he made $2 million on a one-year pact.
The last guy on our list and the best fit for the Devils is left winger Tomas Holmstrom. The 39-year old has been with the Detroit Red Wings organization since 1994. He has won four Stanley Cups. He has played in 180 NHL playoff games and has pumped in 46 goals. He is coming off a down year with just 24 points in 74 games but he would be a smart add for any NHL team who has aspirations of winning a championship. He goes hard to the net and scores tough goals around the crease that you need to succeed in the postseason. Last year with the Wings, he made $1.5 million.
There is no doubt that most every Devils fan wants Semin or Doan to play in Jersey. Include me in that group. It’s time to be realistic though. Lou does not go out and sign free agents to big deals that he hasn’t been linked to in the past, especially forwards. Adding one or two of the guys mentioned above will help improve their depth and make them a better hockey club for 2012-2013.
Thanks for reading. All feedback is appreciated.
Topics: Alexander Semin, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrew Brunette, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Petr Sykora, Pittsburgh Penguins, Richard Park, Shane Doan, Tomas Holmstrom, Zach Parise