Devils – 2003 Offseason

This is my first attempt at an article and since there’s no one on here besides Manta Ray that writes about the Devils, I thought I’d give it a shot. Besides, it’s slow during the offseason, maybe this will get posted over the latest “Leafs Improvement” article. Now on with the show…

So while all the other GMs in the NHL have their problems with high priced players’ salaries and the looming CBA coming up after this season, Lou Lamorello can sit back and laugh. He’s in a rare situation where he does not really have any players with astronomical salaries and his team is just coming off another successful Stanley Cup run. Nothing has been said about the Devils this off season mainly because they haven’t made any big signings or trades happen, but they have been active.

On draft day, Lou rid the Devils of their only “problem” – 22-year-old agitator Mike Danton. Danton played 17 games with the Devils this year before being banished by Lamorello to the River Rats’ bench. He promised the young forward he would never play another game in a Devils’ uniform. So St. Louis picked him up along with a third round pick at the draft in exchange for their third round pick in next year’s draft.

The next bit of news to come out of Jersey was Daneyko’s retirement. He was a heart and soul player and will be missed on the Devils’ blueline. However, the news of his retirement has freed up some money and with that, Lamorello went out and signed free agent defensemen Erik Rasmussen and Sean Brown.

As of right now the only UFA from the Devils’ roster last season that they seem interested in is Joe Nieuwendyk. Joe N. made $5 mil last year and I’m sure Lamorello is trying to talk him down. If he can’t, Nieuwendyk will be playing on another team next season. Tverdovsky and Smehlik don’t seem to be invited back to the swamp and they already lost McKenzie to Nashville.

Last season’s salary (from USAToday.com)

$56,572,446

minus the salaries of players lost in offseason

$47,697,446

That last number assumes if Nieuwendyk was to retain his $5mil/season salary. With Rasmussen and Brown added, the team salary is still shy of $50mil. If the CBA is still a concern even with that salary, contracts for Niedermayer, Brylin, Stevenson, Gomez, Berglund, Schwab, and Guolla expire after the upcoming season and new ones will be negotiated then.

Projected roster for 2003-2004

Friesen Nieuwendyk Langenbrunner

Elias Gomez Brylin

Pandolfo Madden Gionta

Stevenson Rheume Marshall

Stevens Rafalski

White Niedermayer

Brown Rasmussen

Brodeur

Schwab

In case of injuries, they can still call up Rupp, Berglund, Guolla, Bicek, and Giroux who all played games this year with the big team. The Devils look to be in good shape to compete next year for another Stanley Cup and will be fine going into the darkness of the CBA.

Let the bashing begin…


64 Responses to Devils – 2003 Offseason

  1. devfanman4 says:

    nevermind then…lol

  2. devfanman4 says:

    I agree. Lou’s not the greatest GM. There are things that he does that I disagree with. Dave Taylor has done a great job in LA. There are also other GMs around the league that are patiently building young, talented teams (Atl, Fla, Car, Cal, Edm, etc). Lamorello and Lacroix are high up on the list though.

  3. devfanman4 says:

    Well the nit-picking is warranted on this one. I screwed up and had Rasmussen as a D when he’s a center. I think that’s a valid complaint. All i was trying to do is broaden the talk on this talk a bit more, like what you do with the Thrashers on this site. I’m surprised I got so many hits with this article. Maybe it’s because the Devils are a hated team for winning so much, where as your Thrashers – casual hockey fans could care less about (no offense to you). I love watching them play and you do a great job with your articles. Keep it up!

  4. devfanman4 says:

    Arvedson would be a nice pick up. I was hoping they would get Whitney, but obviously that has not happened. Nieuwendyk’s getting up there in age now, not too many teams will be interested in him. Hopefully he’ll realize this and take a paycut and come back. I know he wasn’t happy at the beginning of the year and wanted to be traded, but he came around.

  5. Gattopardo says:

    No way is Dave Taylor the best.

    How many times have they won the cup? Or their division? Or gone deep in the play offs? Oh, gee, NONE. Not a good resume for the ‘best’ GM is it?

    Is Deadmarsh such a great acquisition? How many games did he play last year? That has turned out an even (at best) trade for LA; I give them the benefit of the doubt on that as Blake was about to become a UFA. Although Lacroix knew he would be able to get him signed – as the situation proved.

    For a medium-budget team, Lamoriello does by far the better job – you can consider Lacroix, Holland etc (the Usual Suspects, I suppose) as the top GMs in the league. Not Dave Taylor.

  6. Pock says:

    Nice article. Jersey’s defense will be solid again this year, Sean Brown was a nice pick up. A solid stay at home d-man To replace Daneyko as the fifth defenseman. Where Rasmussen fits in i’m not quite sure yet. Rheaume won’t be returning, but i do think Niewendyk will be, in any case i project the lines to be something like this:

    Elias Gomez Rassmussen

    Either Rassmussen or Brylin will play on the first line at the start of the season, Sergei started there last season but his injury left to the void on the first line and led to the pick up of Marshall.

    Langenbruner Rupp Friesen

    Pending that Niewendyk doesn’t return.

    Pandolfo Madden Brylin

    Substitute Rassmussen for Brylin, doesn’t matter he’ll get alot of bench time w/ coach Pat Burns as Gomez finally started to play with the more defensively alert style Burn’s wants.

    Stevenson Gionta Marshall

    Two guys that like to throw the body and a speedy youngster in the middle, although i could alose see Bicek beating out Gionta for that spot. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings any.

    Stevens Rafalski

    White Niedermayer

    Brown Hale/Giroux

    The first two pairings are a givin, as for Hale or Giroux both fit into the devils system quite nicely.

    We’ll see though first comes football season, just a month away.

  7. cwthrash says:

    No offense taken at all. I’ve know they’ll never be a popular choice. And no matter what I do on this site, I can’t make them more popular. Won’t stop me from trying though.

    Just think it is a bit of overkill. You made a mistake – big deal, so has everyone else. The ones who complain are usually the ones who can’t go a sentence without butchering some rule of grammar. And you’ve seen some evidence in some articles that have been posted: riddled with mistakes.

    Personally, I don’t care much if someone’s writing has mistakes. It’s easier to read if cleaned up, sure. But not completely necessary. I just get a tad aggitated when the people who constantly point out such little mistakes often have many of their own in the comments or articles they write. I’m not fond at all of people who are hypocritical in that way.

    Sorry for the rant.

  8. FoShizzleMyNizzle says:

    please dont dizzle my ebonics plizzle.

    thanks

  9. devfanman4 says:

    You think Rasmussen’s good enough to be on the 1st line? He seems to be a 3rd of 4th line center at best. His career high in goals was with Buf a few years back with 12. Not 1st line numbers at all. Although with the Devils, there are no line #s. They constantly role 4 lines.

  10. GilaMonster says:

    man your forgetting what else dave talyor has done. he hasnt made any mistakes like lacroix has(kasparaitis,theo fleury) or like lou and you forget the other 2 deals this year taylor made he traded schneider for sean avery,max kuznentov, and a 1st round pick in one of the deepest drafts ever ha! and he traded smolinki to ottawa who essentially was going to be a rent a player until he was resigned by ottawa or tim gleason a defenseman who was a 2001 first round pick. so yes he better than lacroix and lou cuz unlike lacroix hes on a budget and i know lou is too.

  11. dkball7 says:

    He must have gotten SARS (sorry i just had to).

  12. dkball7 says:

    Half the comments are from you and me. lol

  13. devfanman4 says:

    I knew this would happen. I have to defend my team and I love talking about them even when I’m not arguing about them!

  14. MantaRay says:

    While I am enjoying the winter here in South Africa for the past few weeks, its also great to see other advocates carrying the Stanley Cup torch!

    Lou is GOD, there are no two ways about it.

    We have to adjust to life in the Swamp without #3 for the first time in close to two decades and what does Lou do? He just signed former Islanders assistant coach Jacque Lappiere to help break in the young turks Giroux, Demarchi, Hale and Martin on the Blue line for next season (in addition to big Larry). Masterful.

    Sean Brown is a decent signing, but he is no Daneyko and is just insurance if the young guns have problems adjusting to the big leagues.

    The signing of Rasmaussan unfortunalty marks the end of Pascal Rhemue with the Devils. His agent did Pascal a major disservice by trying to hold Lou hostage for tons more money and years than he deserved. The Devils gave him a second lease on his NHL career after getting benched in Atlanta and his agent just killed his career by being greedy. Lou wanted him, he wanted the Devils and his agent wanted a bigger commision. Too bad I liked him.

    I hope Rasmassen doesn’t mean that Niewy is gone. We need him and he is a Devil leader.

    I also think Rasmaussen is going to take Rupp’s spot. I don’t think Rupp proved to Burns/Lou that he can be effective over an 82 game season and will probably start off in Albany if Niewy signs.

    Also, Please note that the lines will probably start off (worse case scenario:)

    Elias-Gomez-Marshall

    Friesen-Brylin-Gionta

    Pando-Madden-Langenbrunner

    Stevenson-Rasmaussen-Bicek

    Spares: Rupp-Berglund-Guolla

    The best starting 4 defense in the league:

    Rafi-Stevens

    Nieds-Whitey

    Fighting for spots:

    Giroux-Hale

    Brown-Martin

    Goaltending:

    Vezina winner: Brodeur

    Schwab

    I think Ahron will be trade bait by September if we need to get bigger upfront.

    Peace

    from Kwa-zulu-Natal

    -Manta

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