An Unpopular Opinion? Regarding the Future of the Team.

(Note: This is my first time posting so I do apologize if this article is lacking in quality)

With the 2019-20 season approaching it's trade deadline, our beloved New Jersey Devils have made two moves already. The first was reuniting Andy Greene with Lou Lamoriello on the Island for a 2nd Round Pick next year as well as minor leaguer David Quenneville. Next, during the Devils' 5-4 shoot-out win over Columbus, the Devils struck again. This time trading fan-favorite Blake Coleman to Tampa Bay for Nolan Foote and a conditional 1st Round Pick originally belonging to Vancouver.

To say these moves were a bit jarring would be accurate. Personally, I wasn't expecting Greene to be traded (more on that in a bit) and I will miss Blake Coleman and for others, at least at the game yesterday, fan rage was high for the Coleman trade as well as on Twitter. This rage is precisely why I'm not sure how popular this opinion will be: If I am the owners of the New Jersey Devils, I would make Tom Fitzgerald the permanent GM.

Considering these two trades at the very least, Fitzgerald has done, in my opinion, quite well for himself and as stuck to a vision he has of the New Jersey Devils of the future; one that is based on players who can grow and mature with each other. Let's begin with the Greene trade. With all honesty, did anyone expect Fitzgerald to get a second round pick for Greene? Even if it is for next year, I still think the return was high for a 38 year old defenseman, who admittedly can still hold his own, but was not turning any heads. I will miss Andy Greene, he was a loyal member of the team and I could see him returning as an ambassador for the Devils in retirement. But this was a great trade and helps the team restock it's cupboards

Regarding the Coleman trade, I know many people are angry, but again, how can you not be at least mildly pleased with the return. Yes, he's a fan favorite, yes I wish we could have kept him and competed for a cup with him; but that wasn't to be. He was too valuable a piece in a team that is moving in a different, younger direction. By the time the Devils are ready to compete seriously, Coleman will be in his 30's. Will he still be the same productive NHL'er he is now? For his future, I hope so, but it's far from guaranteed.

Granted, draft picks and prospects are not guaranteed either, but you have to be optimistic when it comes to Nolan Foote. Todd Cordell over at HockeyBuzz (who does marvelous work btw) has a great break down of Foote's skill set in his article about the trade. The first rounder is guaranteed; the only question is the year (this year if Vancouver makes the playoffs, next year if not)

These have both been incredibly smart moves with a good value on return and that speaks to Tom Fitzgerald as a GM. He did not rob Tampa or New York blind, but you don't get many moves like that anymore. (Aside from a rather famous or infamous one-for-one deal a few years ago I'll not mention here). He's proven he can do his job well, and I'd love to see what he has to offer. He's been hands on acting as a coach along with Hynes before his eventual firing. I wonder how much of that was based on a Fitzgerald recommendation after seeing Hynes up close. I feel confident with Tom Fitzgerald moving forward and I hope the owners do as well.

Regarding coaching, my take is a little different; everything needs to be changed from the ground up. The team has been utterly dismal in so many regards and it shows. You know it, I know it, and we all feel it. Or am I the only one who sees the team get a two goal lead and starts sweating? How many of us were expecting the game to be over against Columbus once they went up 2-0? Yes, it was a great show of grit from the players on the ice, but this is happening way too often. I get that some of this is a lack of talent, but at some point the coaching staff...the entire coaching staff has to be held accountable. I'm not sure who the next coach should be; I have a feeling anyone hoping for a huge name (Say like Gerard Gallant) may be disappointed, but we'll have to wait and see.

In short, I say keep Fitzgerald, but fire the coaching staff. Have the next head coach whoever they may be choose their assistance and capitalize on the youth and potential that is coming via draft picks and smart trades. Nico is amazing, Hughes looks better each game, Blackwood is a quality goaltender (who needs an appropriate back-up and a defense that doesn't hang him out to dry). Foote is coming, Ty Smith is coming. Have faith, Devils Faithful. It may be a while, but things WILL get better, but only if the right person is leading the charge in the front office and on the ice. I believe we have half of that equation. Now we can only wait and see how the off-season fixes the other half.

Do you agree with my take? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Also don't be shy and follow me on twitter @jm8289 I could always use some more Devil's fans on my timeline.

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