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So…what do the Devils do now?

Jul 4, 2012, 1:39 PM EDT

Lou Lamoriello Getty Images

In what was a gut punch day for a number of NHL clubs, none may have been hit harder than the New Jersey Devils. (OK, maybe the Predators.)

With Zach Parise bolting Newark for Minnesota — thanks in no small part to a 13-year, $98 million contract — the Devils are now without their captain and three-time leading scorer.

New Jersey was the only team Parise had known since breaking into the NHL after the lockout. Taken 17th overall by the Devils in 2003, Parise played over 500 regular-season contests and led the club to its first Stanley Cup finals appearance in nine years.

So…what happens now? Here are some things to consider.

– The Devils will need a new captain. Ilya Kovalchuk is one of New Jersey’s alternates and formerly wore the “C” in Atlanta. Patrik Elias, another alternate, is the franchise’s all-time leader in points and goals and served as captain from 2006-07. Travis Zajac and David Clarkson could also be in the mix.

– Parise’s a big loss, no doubt, but New Jersey has survived a number of big free agency losses since the lockout. Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim), Brian Rafalski (Detroit), Scott Gomez (New York Rangers) and Brian Gionta (Montreal) all flew the coop and, like Parise, Niedermayer was New Jersey’s captain before signing with his new team.

– It’ll be interesting to see how, or if, GM Lou Lamoriello responds. Regardless, it won’t be easy. Parise had five 30-goal seasons with the Devils, including a career-best 45 in 2008-09. And New Jersey wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut last year, finishing 15th in goals per game (2.63).

– As far as goalscoring wingers go, the best left on the UFA market are Alex Semin, Shane Doan and Andrei Kostitsyn.

– Speaking of spending, the Devils currently have 20 players under contract for 2012-13 and are $16 million under the cap.

– Also speaking of spending, there’s the matter of the team’s finances. It’s not known whether they came close to offering what the Wild offered or if Lamoriello just backed up the guilt truck.

Related:

So…what do the Red Wings do now?

So…what do the Predators do now?

  1. uscthom78 - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Give up.

  2. martysbetter - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Find a few diamonds in the rough that can play and excel in Deboer’s system, the Devils found an identity last year, just need to move forward with that.

  3. DED - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    New Jersey is a state, not a city.

  4. sergeikremlin - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    The Devils do what they always do: ice a veteran team that is well coached defensively, with solid role players, and their franchise goaltender between the pipes for two more seasons.

    In terms of captain, you signed Kovalchuk until 2025, so you either make him the face of the franchise with Parise gone, or you go with a veteran like Bryce Salvador or Patrik Elias.

  5. meynbass - Jul 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    I like clarkson for captain just to piss off all the haters

  6. phillyphever - Jul 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    This can all go back to the Kovalchuk contract. Completely ruined their cap situation for years for come.

    • really999 - Jul 4, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      Another stupid comment from Philly. Shocker!!! They are 17 mil under the cap for this year. 40 mil for next. Happy with kovy and would rather pay him than a grinder like praise or girouix whose hussle is more likely to fade with age. Btw did you get that goalie situation fixed?

    • ray2013 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:01 AM

      Apparently their owner is in severe financial trouble to the extent he may need to sell the team.

      http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/owner_be_damned_XgXuEUTpV1Ek0Xc8rl9MdI

      There’s an article alleging the NHL has a plan to take the Devils away from the current owner if his financial situation worsens. (The allegation was denied by the NHL.) If the team is potentially facing bankruptcy, this could have been reason enough to move on from the Devils. I’m surprised this has not been forwarded as reason for Parise to go to MN.

      • really999 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:16 AM

        this ny post jibberish is one isolated and old story. Everyone else involved says team finances were not an issue in free agent period. Hence the 12+ mil the devils dished out in the Last week and the fact that they likely offered parise more than 80-90 mil.

        Issues need to be dealt with with ownership. But both Lou and zp said it was not an issue in the process.

        Also realize the ny post is a tabloid. Not quite national inquirer but somewhere on that spectrum of ‘creativity’

      • ray2013 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        Well, if I had to worry about my paycheck clearing, it might make me decide to work somewhere else. But if you’re saying that this is not a real issue, then fine.

  7. ray2013 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    If that story is true, then that would be the first thing the NJ Devils need to do; clear up their ownership situation.

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