I have Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac in my single season, points only pool. I am scared about how stable the team is going to be with all the other disruptions in New Jersey (short benches, Ilya Kovalchuk in the press box). Is now the time to sell these guys and take what I can get back? Should I act before the train wreck?
Steve in Toronto
It’s easy to assume that things will only get worse in New Jersey. After all, the Devils have probably been the league’s biggest disappointment this season, currently residing in the NHL basement with just five points.
The Kovalchuk/John MacLean feud only seems to magnify the problems in the swamp. MacLean was attempting to put his stamp on things, forcing the $100 million man to miss an entire game just for being ten minutes late to a team meeting. How will this situation play out? Do you remember about 20 years ago, when then-Kings coach Robbie Ftorek thought he would make an example out of Wayne Gretzky? Devils GM Lou Lamoriello will fire MacLean long before he attempts to trade his 15-year contract. Not that he would be able to trade Kovalchuk anyway.
We know that Kovalchuk will be staying put, and we also know that he can score at will – in Jersey, Atlanta, or Siberia. I don’t expect the Devils to be this bad for the entire season, but even if they are, skilled players can still rack up big points for bad teams. In addition, the short benches also mean more icetime for the scorers, which could be both a good thing (more scoring opportunities) or a bad thing (fatigue).
Zajac is coming off back-to-back 60-point seasons, and he is only 25 years old. Add to that the fact that he will center either Kovalchuk or Zach Parise (maybe both!) and you have a player entering the prime years of his career. By no means should you be selling him unless you receive a juicy offer.
I’m a little more tempted to sell Elias. He is now 34 years of age, and he has battled some injuries over the last few seasons. In addition, the (-8) this season doesn’t look good at all. Although some Devils fans will beg to differ and will say that he is a point-per-game player still, I would shop Elias around and see what you can get, based on his name value.
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