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It’s time for Lou Lamoriello to break up the New Jersey Devils

Lou Lamoriello has been the general manager of the New Jersey Devils since 1987. Since then, Lamoriello has ushered in one of the most successful runs in the National Hockey League, building three Stanley Cup champions and two other squads that reached the Finals. Additionally, Lamoriello earned induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, a well-deserved honor for one of the top front-office men in recent memory.

All that said, Lamoriello’s current team is an aging mess. The Devils are not only bad, but they are old. It’s the worst possible combination to have especially within a league littered with speedy, dynamic forwards and mobile defensemen. As of Wednesday morning, New Jersey is fifth in the Metropolitan Division with an 11-13-5 record, totaling 27 points. Considering the Devils began the season 3-0, the team has been in freefall ever since.

The offense has been a problem once again this season. After posting an Eastern Conference-low 198 goals last season, New Jersey is 24th in the NHL this year with 68 goals. Special teams have also been a major issue for the Devils. The teams is 28th on the penalty kill with an abysmal 75.9 percent conversion rate, better than only the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders. The power play is a rare bright spot, ranking 11th at 21.2 percent.

New Jersey has some young cornerstones to build around including rookie defenseman Damon Severson and talented center Adam Henrique. There are also plenty of other young blue-liners with potential including Eric Gelinas, Adam Larsson and Jon Merrill. Unfortunately, the Devils have a roster clogged with too many players who are well past their prime.

It’s time for Lamoriello to deal off some of his well-known veterans in hopes of bringing back young players and draft picks. The Devils are not making the playoffs with this group, so why not deal Jaromir Jagr (42 years old), Marek Zidlicky (37), Bryce Salvador (38), Martin Havlat (33), Michael Ryder (34), Patrik Elias (38) and even Mike Cammalleri (32)? The only cumbersome contract in the group is Cammalleri, who is in the first year of a five-year, $25 million deal. However, the winger has 11 goals in 21 games this year, so maybe a team takes a chance on the oft-injured sniper.

Lamoriello would probably like to trade Ryane Clowe and Dainius Zubrus, but their contracts are metaphorical anchors. Nobody will want to take on either player without Lamoriello taking significant salary back, unless Lamoriello including a young defenseman in the deal. Clowe is due $4.85 million for each of the next four seasons while Zubrus is locked in at $3.1 million for this year and next, along with a no-trade clause.

The Devils have a good, long-term goaltender in Cory Schneider and the promise of an excellent defensive core. If Lamoriello can make some shrewd deals and draft well, New Jersey could be back in contention quickly. If Lamoriello continues to patchwork the team, the Devils will become a team people only think about when they are next on the schedule,  another game to play in an empty arena.


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