6 #NJDevils Thoughts – February 23, 2018

1) This is the only thought I’ll spend on last night’s game.  Blowing a 2-0 lead at home this time of year is a no-no.  Allowing three goals in a 5-minute span is unbelievably annoying.  They allowed 2 goals in the blink of an eye to Minnesota’s 4th line.  Everyone can take some blame in this game.  I know the Devils out-attempted the opponent for a 2nd straight time and lost, but this didn’t feel like a game the Devils deserved.  It felt like the Wild won a majority of the puck battles in the last 40 minutes and the Devils had a lot of one-and-done’s in the 3rd period.  Too many missed nets and they just weren’t crisp overall.

2) On Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts Podcast, he mentioned the Devils as a “stealth team” for Buffalo’s Evander Kane.  We spoke about him on #DevilsDaily on Tuesday.  I know the Devils may have made their big move last night, but boy, he’d be a fun player to watch play with Nico or perhaps someone that could elevate the game of Pavel Zacha.

This next blurb fits for Grabner as well, so I’ll continue on.  We talked about what it might take and the risk of trading for a guy who’s a UFA.  But logic would say it should cost less than acquiring a comparable player with term.  When I saw the Darcy Kuemper extension after the ARI/LAK trade the other night, it got me thinking.  Could the Devils work on an extension immediately with Grabner?  If they acquire another player with youth/upside who’s an impending UFA like Kane?  I completely understand a backup goaltender and a top-line winger are not the same thing, but perhaps it might be easier to trade for a player whose contract is expiring rather than someone under control through 2018-19 that you can’t talk extension with until July 2018.

3) If you’re looking for a reason that Kane might be a real possibility, the Devils have had lots of scouts at Buffalo games recently, even their minor league affiliate.  Jason Botterill is the GM of the Buffalo Sabres.  He was hired as the Director of Hockey Operations by Ray Shero during his 2nd season in Pittsburgh.  Botterill, who was 30 at the time of the hire, had only been removed from playing pro hockey three years and possessed only one year of front office experience as a scout with the Dallas Stars.  Shero put a lot of faith in him.  They won a Stanley Cup together a season after he was hired.  I’m not saying they can get Kane for a discount, but there’s definitely a deep and close relationship there.

4) On the recent TSN Hockey Bobcast, Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun exchanged trade deadline coverage stories.  LeBrun shared a tale regarding the 2013 NHL Draft Day trade of Cory Schneider between NJ and VAN.  Minutes after the deal was done, one VAN front office executive told LeBrun:

“I kid you not; Lou told us if this gets out in the next 24 hours, I’m cancelling the trade.”

Classic Lou Lamoriello.  Ray is cut from similar cloth.  The Palmieri trade was simply announced…same for the Henrique/Vatanen swap.  The Johansson trade.  I think there was a little buzz about Hall but that was more speculation than anything.  And of course, nobody had Grabner to NJ before last night.  Is it going to be eerily quiet again until Monday afternoon?

5) I can’t wait to attend the Patrik Elias Jersey Retirement on Saturday.  I’ve only been to one other game this season.  However, I’ve been lucky enough to have gone to the four prior jersey retirement games.  I remember going to the Scott Stevens one on February 3, 2006 at the old Continental Airlines Arena.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt that building more alive.  He got a loud, boisterous and continuous ovation as well as chants for 3 minutes and 23 seconds straight from the moment Doc Emrick introduced him until he cracked the mic again.  Watch it.  It’ll give you chills all over again:

People were so pumped for that night because it was the first one.  I recall the heightened anticipation because something like this had never been done before in the history of the Devils.

It was so strange to see Marty the most uncomfortable we’ve ever seen him 2 years ago.  Doc literally had to tell him to stop, wave, enjoy the moment and take it in.  Even still, everything felt rushed about it.  I hope Patty can organically pause and enjoy the moment.  For me, it’ll make it that much more enjoyable and I think it will come across as such on TV as well.  Oh and you all know the results of the prior 4 retirement games, right?  Right.  Fingers crossed.

6) Ken Daneyko choking up during the Elias press conference.  He’s got so much damn passion for the organization and its players…he’s up there yesterday banging the podium…very demonstrative in his actions with his deep, booming voice.  He’s getting emotional about a guy he hasn’t played with in 15 years.  Here’s a guy in #3 who checked himself into rehab in the late 90s in the middle of a season, went through marital stuff…real life things!  Even with all that, it exhibits how much Patrik Elias means to him all these years later.  That’s awesome.

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