Since the first edition of this article went over so well with so many fans, I thought we would bring it back for another run as there are a number of questions I have that I'd like to hear about from other fans.
1.) Who did Tuomo Ruutu rub the wrong way?
I've been pretty happy with Tuomo Ruutu's play for our New Jersey Devils; he's someone you can count on to be physical on a nightly basis and to show up on the score sheet every so often. I have to question however who he upset in the organization because of his deployment; Ruutu at this point deserves at least some consideration to take the spot of Dainius Zubrus next to Mike Cammalleri and Jaromir Jagr. Zubrus has been brutal to say the least, and he tends to take very poorly timed penalties in close games that also turn the tide in our opponent's favor. Ruutu did practice with Jagr and Cammalleri according to Tom Gulitti, however all of the lines were juggled due to Scott Gomez being absent from practice, so it doesn't necessarily mean this switch will stick when Friday's game rolls around.
2.) Who did Eric Gelinas rub the wrong way?
I addressed this last week a little bit but it ties in with the above blurb about Ruutu so I figured it was worth mentioning again. While I pondered last time if Gelinas was expendable/tradeable, the fact of the matter is he has now been a healthy scratch in favor of the utterly incredible pairing of Mark Fraser and Peter Harrold; you should be able to feel the sarcasm dripping off the latter part of that sentence. Even if the idea is to trade Gelinas, scratching him for six straight in favor of two inferior players has to have tanked his trade value to an all time low; even if it hasn't, you have to assume the team would want to showcase his strengths and they haven't done that much either.
3.) Incoming Returns
If Gelinas and Michael Ryder were concerned about being scratched so many times lately, they must absolutely dreading the returns of Damon Severson and Stephen Gionta respectively. Severson and Gionta have both been out since December but both have resumed skating; while their returns are still at least a few games off, the players have to start wondering who will be the odd men out. Fraser should to be jettisoned back to Albany as soon as Severson is ready, but who sits for the forwards? In a perfect world, this is where we try to wake Dainius Zubrus from his season and a half long slumber by scratching him for a bit, but part of me fears that Jacob Josefson will be reunited with the press box seats he knows oh so well.
4.) Man Overboard?
So with the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Jaromir Jagr has hinted at jumping off of the sinking ship that is the New Jersey Devils, although he has said that he will not explicitly ask for a trade. Jagr has been one of the better and more fun to watch players on this team since he initially signed with us, but he hasn't been as electrifying this season as he was last year. If Jagr wants to chase one more Stanley Cup, I say we help him do so, as he's done more for the Devils than the Devils have done for him. Any return we get also would help us build for the future, and who's to say he wouldn't re-sign over the summer for one more run with us?
5.) John's Favorite Player
Another name sure certain to see some speculation as we draw closer to March 2nd is Michael Ryder. While his past season and a half here has been an abomination, there are some teams that might want some right wing depth as the head into the postseason. Ryder obviously isn't in our long term plans, but what worries me is that his trade value might be at an all time low due to how bad he has been during his tenure in New Jersey. Since he's going to walk at the end of the season anyway, if we can get any return for him, we should probably just take it.
Once again this week I'd now like to hear from my fellow Devils fans as to what you think about any and/or all of the above topics. Leave your comments below, and thank you as always for reading!