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Devils Look Beyond 2007-2008

The team has had a rough go to start the season, but a couple of big trades are continuing to shape the team for this season and beyond. After going from Tim Thomas to Olaf Kolzig the team is now stuck with inexperienced Karri Ramo and John Curry in net..
The New Jersey Devils are currently the worst team in the NEFHL, sitting at the bottom of the standings with only 1 win and 7 points through 19 games. The team has scored a pathetic 37 goals and let up a near league high of 79. GM Tousignant knew the season would be tough on the team and feels sorry for the young guys on the team taking a beating night in and night out. After a back and forth season last year saw the Devils miss the playoffs by 10 points, the Devils went into rebuild by trading the franchise in Iginla and Brind'Amour. All that's left from last season is only a handful of players like Henrik Tallinder, Adrian Aucoin, Mike York and Jeff O'Neill. The Devils like Henrik's game and plan to keep him with the team throughout his 4 year contract, however the other 3 will all be leaving the team next offseason as unrestricted free agents...

The biggest move the Devils have made this season is trading their #1 goalie Tim Thomas to the Sabres for veteran goalie Olaf Kolzig, a 1st round pick in 2009 and prospect Aaron Palushaj. The Devils hadn't been shopping Thomas but Sabres GM Kevin Fuhr presented the offer and after only a short time a deal was reached. The Devils weren't too happy adding such a big salary in Kolzig, but are happy to now have three first rounders in 2008 and two in 2009. Palushaj is a forward prospect the Devils had tried to get from the Flyers a few months back and are glad to have him in the fold. A long-term NCAA prospect, the Devils look forward to watching him develop

Only a short time later, the Devils then traded away the multi-million dollar Kolzig in a deal with the Lightning for goalie prospect Semen Varlamov and some picks. The deal also saw depth defenseman Jim Vandermeer go the Lightning way, and while not too happy about moving him the team felt the value was good and was happy to open up a roster spot. Varlamov coming to the Devils via trade was perfect timing as they had just traded Matt Keetley to the Hawks for big forward prospect Johan Ryno. The Devils admit they don't know much about Ryno except for his big size and feel he's got years of development in him, and hesitated about the deal because of the lack of goaltending depth throughout the organization. However, less than a week later the team acquired the afformentioned Varlamov and he now will battle with Karri Ramo as the goalie of the future for the Devils. Unfortunately, as a Russia you never know what you are going to get...so with Varlamov the Devils hope he's in North America by next year...

Aside from that, not much going on for the Devils this season...just sitting back watching players develop...some exceeding expectations (Kane, Ryan, Karsums, Sobotka), some on par with what is expected (Clarkson, Boyd, Birner, Skille, Edler) and some dissapointing early on (Thoresen, Almtorp, Bagnall).

The team is currently at 43 players, 2 below the maximum allowed...the team has Aaron Marvin, Bobby Hughes, Brady Calla, Francois Bouchard, John Armstrong, Nikolai Lemtyugov and Semen Varlamov to sign from the 06 draft...so 7 players altogether (8 if Kane is signed..) Take off York, Kolnik, Drake, O'Neill, Aucoin and that would leave enough room to sign all the 06 guys...and that's assuming no players are signed during this season (Greg Moore?!?!) or free agents signed next offseason...and seeing how the team is a little Strapped for Cash (Fountains of Wayne!!)...the team is looking forward to the young guys development, a lottery pick in next year's draft and hopefully a team that wins more than 1 of the first 19 next season..