Even with the oldest roster in the NHL, and even with that old roster languishing near the bottom of the league standings, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello doesn’t think a full rebuild is the right way to go in New Jersey.
“I don’t think you tear it down by any means; that’s not in the philosophy of this organization nor do I think that’s something that can be done in this day and age,” Lamoriello said, per the club’s website.
Instead, he believes the Devils are in a “transition” phase, with a young defense corps that’s going to need time to develop.
“Unfortunately one of our young defenseman [Damon Severson] gets hurt but that’s nobody’s fault,” he said. “They are growing and gaining experience and in the big picture it’s going to be something that’s a foundation. … When our young defense gets more mature, it will help us create offensively.”
That may be true. What’s more, when “transitioning” a team, it can be smart to develop the young defensemen first, then bring in the young forwards, who typically take less time to make a positive impact at the NHL level. (In Chicago, for example, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were drafted before Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.)
But it’s also true that the Devils have few, if any, blue-chip forward prospects. In fact, they haven’t drafted a forward with a pick below No. 20 since Zach Parise was selected 17th overall in 2003. Surely there’s a relation between that and the Devils’ roster today. And surely it’s a concern going forward, even with the opportunity to maybe draft Connor McDavid in June.