To go along with our '30 in 30' off-season feature, we'll be asking a blogger from each team some of the burning questions surrounding their club this summer.
RLD: 1. Who would you like to see become the new bench boss? Chris Wassel: Personally I would like to see Chicago assistant Mike Haviland get the job. Haviland is a Middletown, NJ native who has had success in every stage of his coaching career. It’s nice to never have a winning percentage below .588 in a season and he did win two Kelley Cups (AC- 2003, Trenton - 2005). He then spent three years coaching Chicago's AHL team before becoming assistant coach in the summer of 2008. His experiences would serve him well in a tough environment like New Jersey. Time is ticking and Lou has to make a decision soon.
RLD: 2. True or false: Ilya Kovalchuk will be a New Jersey Devil in 2010/11? CW: The toughest question to answer has to be this one. I still maintain this all depends on which coach is named and the best fit for Kovalchuk and his family. People forget the guy does not want to move his family around a lot which anyone can honestly respect. If I had to go out on a limb, I will say False actually right at this moment but it would not surprise if after testing the market, Kovalchuk comes back to the area either with New Jersey or the New York Rangers.
RLD: 3. Has Jamie Langenbrunner played his last game in New Jersey? CW: This one seemed to be a definite yes about six weeks ago; but now that cooler heads have prevailed, Langenbrunner has not played his last game yet in New Jersey. There may be some question as to if he should be the Captain; but as of now, there are no imminent trades on the horizon. However, something is brewing in Devil land. It’s almost like having a coffee but knowing the coffee is getting way too hot. Call it that kind of feeling that someone is going in New Jersey. So never say never on Langenbrunner here.
RLD: 4. What adjustments would you like to see made, defensively? CW: In an ideal world, the Devils would just let the kids play at this point and take one for the team. With albatrosses on defense like Colin White and Bryce Salvador (at times), the Devils need something and anything to take the load off the forwards. Andy Greene was a nice find, but cannot do it all on his own, and Paul Martin (yes he was injured) has still been a disappointment. I think Lou does make a stab at Tomas Kaberle because the Devils do need an offensive defenseman in the worst way. Other than that there is not much the Devils can really do.
RLD: 5. Which prospects are on the horizon for the Devils? CW: I still want to see if Mattias Tedenby can do in camp. Tedenby may be a bit small but no one can question how fast he can skate. If his defensive skills are improved like some scouts are insisting then he really may just have a shot at making the big squad. Jacob Josefson has been also showing flashes of talent as well. Matt Halischuk was up for a bit this year and I expect him to play a bit more next year as he has some real potential. Adam Henrique may be a year or two away and most of the college prospects are still a ways away as well. Do not be surprised if Jeff Frazee is with the big club at some point (not technically a prospect anymore). I am interested to see at what Nick Palmieri does at camp....he is a wildcard to look out for.
Bonus Question... RLD: Will Martin Brodeur ever be traded for Alex Semin? CW: Simply this trade rumor was the result of someone trying to further make a name for himself for all the reasons. It was disgraceful that the mainstream media (MSM) even ran with this at all. Add in the fact that Lou Lamoriello even had to address that and that tells you about the ludicrous nature of the rumor. There is NO way that Martin Brodeur will ever be traded from the New Jersey Devils. He is a career Devil. It is pathetic that this even became a story at all. Maybe next time the next rumor will be a little more believable. When I first saw this, I thought this was one of those WTF Trade Requests; I really did. So in short, Marty Brodeur still a Devil.
We thank Chris for taking time out to answer these burning questions in Newark! You can catch his work over at The Program, as well as The Examiner. I recommend following him on Twitter also.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.