I'm gonna be all over the place in this thread so bear with me.
1. I alluded to this in one of the threads but are we talking enough about the pro scouting department because relatively speaking, they've gotten a pass in regards to the Devils issues and shortcomings. Johnsson is a good example of a player who was brought in that hasn't worked out. Why is that the case? Does the player deserve all of the blame or is this a situation where the Devils should've stayed away entirely because the warning signs where there and the pro scouting deserves blame? Where are the Devils in comparison to the rest of the league in terms of scouting (pro and amateur)? Are we cheaping out here and going barebones or is this a string of unfortunate occurances?
2. The last time the Devils "went for it", it blew up in their face in epic fashion. Gusev didn't make it through his second season, Simmonds was a disaster in his only season here, and Subban has been average at best and more accurately, below average. Fitz wasn't the GM then but he was in the room as the AGM. Will these failures cause the Devils to take a more conservative approach after making bold moves and being the "offseason champs" didn't work out last time?
3. Do we actually believe ownership will spend to the cap ceiling if/when this team is ready to go for it? They've said they will when the time comes, but saying it and doing it are two different things. And the only time this team has had any success under their ownership in 2018, they basically sat out the following offseason.
4. Fitz has said in the past that Jack and Nico will dictate the timeline, which is understandable. That said, they obviously can't do this by themselves. They needed help last offseason as well and the only F of note they brought in was Johnsson, who hasn't worked out. Now, Palmieri is gone as well. Its nice knowing Bratt is in place and that Foote and Holtz are in the pipeline, but don't we need guys in the interim as well? How are we addressing that?
5. Mackenzie Blackwood is having his worst season thus far in the NHL. Yes, he has had his moments where he has shined. He's also had plenty of games where he's given up 4 goals. We can blame the defense, sure, but is this defense any worse than the one they ran out there the previous two seasons? I don't think it is. Is it time we start having the conversation of "wait a minute, are we sure Mackenzie Blackwood is a franchise goaltender?", and if so, how do we address this going forward. I would think the Devils would try to get a more reliable 1B goaltender like last year with Crawford, but I'm not so sure that Blackwood shouldn't be usurped if the other guy posts a .925%
6. I do worry about apathy and the building of the fanbase in general. This fanbase obviously isn't used to losing and losing for as long as the Devils have now. We know this team stinks and the promises of "things are on the upswing" and whatnot. That talk of things getting better and they don't is tiring when all we want is to watch a winner. At what point is there internal pressure from ownership to get our @$^%$ together and stop being a laughingstock because of the impact on the business. Do we know that Tom Fitzgerald and Paul Castron actually know how to build a winner? Its pretty bad that in a Rangers game with limited capacity in Prudential Center that it was basically all Rangers fans in attendance. Its pretty bad that this team has to keep trading fan favorites and former All-Stars and MVPs because nobody wants to stay. How are you supposed to build a fanbase when you're doing that AND the team is bad AND you keep losing and playing bad hockey? Shouldn't Harris and co. be concerned about building that next generation of Devils fans? The 2012 run was 9 years ago now, so if you were a teenager then, you're an adult now. Why would you spend disposable income on this dumpster fire of a team when they give you so little reason to do so?
7. Are we 100% sure that Pavel Zacha is a piece worth building around? Or Miles Wood? Or Damon Severson? Because if there is any doubt, maybe its time to sell high on guys who aren't part of the core. And right now, the only one of those three I'd even consider to be part of it is Severson and that's pushing it.
Thank you for reading this very good and obviously correct post.