The New Jersey Devils have been more than entertaining over the last season and a half. The team has provided us with plenty of drama during that span. They especially have a knack for making an otherwise boring hockey game interesting. Still, I can’t help but find myself coming up with “what if” after “what if” scenarios.
When it comes to wondering what would of happened if certain events had gone the other way or will go another way, my mind certainly takes the cake. I have come up with five earth shattering “what ifs” that deal specifically with the Devils over the last couple of seasons and into the future. Some a little less significant, others, well let’s just say we would be looking at a very different hockey club this coming October and beyond.
1. What if Ilya Kovalchuk had not re-signed with the Devils? – The repercussions of this scenario are far reaching. But, perhaps the biggest impact of Kovy’s new deal was on Zach Parise. I have always felt, and this is purely my opinion, that Parise looked at the trade and signing of Kovalchuk as a knock on him. It was almost as if the Devils didn’t believe he could be “the man.” In Parise’s final days in New Jersey, one swirling rumor said specifically that Parise wanted to be the number one guy. Whether that’s true or not is up in the air. But, it gave further credence to my previous thought. Perhaps if Kovalchuk signs with L.A. then Parise stays with N.J.
2. What if David Clarkson cannot repeat his offensive success from a year ago? In 2011-12, Clarkson shattered all his own career bests. He erupted for 30 goals and 46 points in 80 games. In his previous five seasons, Clarkson never even came close to the 20 goal mark and only cracked 15 once. He was one of the catalysts of New Jersey’s success. His was among the leaders on the club with seven game-winning goals. He played with a chip on his shoulder, but in a good way. If he doesn’t duplicate or at least come close to those numbers than the Devils could be in serious trouble.
3. What if there is a lockout and next season is washed out? In three years the Devils could could be faced with a 43 and 41 year-old goalie tandem. Let that soak in for a bit.
4. What if Adam Larsson’s development was slowed by the P.K. Subban hit? We all saw it, the difference, something had changed. After Larsson took the devastating hit from Subban he was not the same player. He did shows flashed of his old self in limited action, but was it enough for him to move forward? We should have the answer to that question this season.
5. What if Lou Lamoriello retires? A shocking and almost blasphemous thought to many of the Devils faithful. Lamoriello has been paramount in turning around the once lame duck franchise since he arrived in 1987. Life after Lou will almost assuredly mark some of the darkest days in Devils history. The good news is that GM’s are better and more prepared today then ever before. We can thank Lamoriello for that and because of that t0 there will be another person ready to step in and lead the Devils. Nobody can every replace Uncle Lou, but somebody can and will allow his legacy to live on through the New jersey Devils.
Follow me on Twitter! @StevePalumboNHL
Email me at StevePalumboNHL@gmail.com