New Jersey Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas has been a healthy scratch for the team's past 7 games and it appears tonight will mark the 8th game in a row where Gelly sits. Before this season even began, there was talk of the Devils dealing from their strength (defense) to address their largest need (scoring) and that was prior to the David Schlemko signing.
Many fans initially were hesitant to trade Eric due to his shot from the point, a weapon that no other defender on the roster possessed. As time has gone on, his shot has become less reliable and his game in general seems to have taken a step back. The trade deadline is approaching rapidly and Devils General Manager Ray Shero has stated that he will only be making moves that help the team in the long term. So is the team stronger in the long term if they ship out Gelly?
The whole point of this article stems a bit from Tom Gulitti's reporting the past couple of days over on Fire and Ice; while the article contains only information to the contrary (including a quote from Gelinas himself stating that he hasn't asked for a trade), he did admit his frustration is the worst it has even been during his NHL career. There also was a second article/part of an article (that I can't seem to find) where Gulitti spoke with Gelinas who remarked that management was not happy with his comments.
This is the third coaching staff (following DeBoer and last season's Hydra) where Gelinas has failed to secure himself a regular spot in the lineup. At some point as a fan, a player, or even a team executive the thought begins to creep in that the current player/team relationship is not working out. Eric is still a fairly young player, and as such a change of scenery may benefit his ability to put it all together.
When Gelinas was first called up to play for the Devils, he made a great first impression by beating then Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo for his first NHL goal in his first game that season. He had a strong rookie campaign, posting 7 goals and 22 assists in 60 games.
It seemed to all start going downhill towards the end of that season/the start of the next season; Gelinas began to make more defensive gaffes. His shot was beginning to become his only asset and he was starting to look like the next Marek Zidlicky, which still would not be the worst thing in the world. The coaching staff was talking to him about ways to change his game and scratching him from the lineup when results did not meet desired expectations. Throughout the entire progress, Gelly seemed to lose one of his best weapons that he had with him in that game against Vancouver: his confidence.
While the Devils have been doing alright in terms of forwards, they could still use some extra scoring help, particularly on the right side. A healthy Devils team's top 3 lines can use a combination of Michael Cammalleri, Joseph Blandisi, and Reid Boucher on the left side; the former is still a top line player and the latter two are putting the pieces together at the NHL level.
While there are some fans who are not thrilled with the team's center depth, I honestly don't see any problem in running Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac, and Jacob Josefson in their current positions. The argument could be made that Josefson is a line too high, but that could change next season if the team determines either (or both) Pavel Zacha and John Quenneville are ready for the NHL.
The right side is where our problem is at currently it relies on using Tyler Kennedy in the top 9 along with Lee Stempniak and Kyle Palmieri; while not a lock, Palmieri might be the only one with the team at the start of next season, and even if the other two remained, Kennedy is someone who should be playing fourth line energy minutes rather than on a scoring line. If the Devils do part with Gelinas, I would assume it would be for a right-handed shooting right winger, or a righty center who can shift over to the wing.
What do you think of the Devils trading Eric Gelinas? Will it be for immediate help, a prospect, draft pick, or some combination? Will the team regret trading him if they do? Will he be retained to sit in the press box? Leave your answers/comments below and as always thank you for reading?