New Jersey Devils Mid-Term Report Card

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Front Office

Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Lou Lamoriello has been the general manager of the New Jersey Devils for a long time, since 1987 to be exact. And in that time, he has done some great things, helping bring three Stanley Cup championships to the Garden State.

But over the last three seasons or so, Lamoriello seems to have “lost his touch” so-to-speak, as the Devils have lost some of their biggest players – although, some not at fault of Lamoriello (see: Ilya Kovalchuk) – and have not done all that much to replace them.

Within two years of New Jersey’s Stanley Cup run in 2012, the Devils lost their top three goal scorers from that season in Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and David Clarkson. Did Lamoriello attempt to replace them? Yes, he did, by bringing in concussion-prone Ryan Clowe on a questionable five-year contract, Michael Ryder, who hasn’t produced much of anything during his time in New Jersey, and Damien Brunner, who isn’t even with the team anymore.

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Lamoriello’s only successful recent signings have been Mike Cammalleri, who leads the team in goals this season, and Jaromir Jagr, although he is not the player he once was at age 42. He took a flyer on Martin Havlat, who has shown he can still find the net, but like always, has been sidelined by injury for much of the season. Also, waiting until mid-way through the season to sign Scott Gomez from the “practice squad” if you will, now looks like a foolish decision by Lamoriello, as Gomez has become one of the better players on the team since playing everyday – tallying 16 points in 23 games.

Why are Lamoriello’s moves over the past several years important now? They have culminated in the Devils being a team built with third and fourth line players. A team constructed like this cannot survive in today’s fast-paced league.

But blame doesn’t fall solely on Lamoriello. The Devils haven’t drafted a successful NHL forward since they drafted Travis Zajac in 2004. Yes, they have drafted successfully on the defensive side, with picks like Adam Larsson, Damon Severson, and Mark Fayne to name a few, but ineffectively drafting on the offensive side of the puck shows the Devils’ are lacking in the scouting department, which is a glaring problem with the franchise’s departure from winning over the past three-plus seasons.

The bottom line is that Lamoriello has not done enough to make the Devils a competitive team, and exemplified the team’s issues on the ice, the failures of the front office over the past several seasons have come to a head this season.

Mid-Term Grade: F

Next: New Jersey Devils All-Star Break Report: Three Stars