TORONTO – New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is one of the most respected men in hockey and that reputation clearly extends to his own team’s dressing room.
To a man, the Devils have faith Lamoriello will do the right thing for his team before the trade deadline passes – whether it be nothing or something.
“We try not to concern ourselves with that,” said Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner after his team’s 3-2 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
“Whatever decisions are made, I think we have to trust the management. They’re going to do what’s best for our team down the stretch and into the playoffs, and if that’s nothing, then we’re happy with that. If it’s making a move, we’ll move forward with that.”
New Jersey made a minor pick up in acquiring defenceman Niclas Havelid from the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday and it’s hard to believe the team is in dire need of much help anywhere. The Devils have emerged as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference of late and are virtually a lock to win the Atlantic Division.
With all the good vibes going on, including getting Martin Brodeur back in the net, the best approach may be to ride out things out with the team’s current crew.
“That’s a job for our general manager and he’s always found ways for us to be successful,” said Brodeur, who has won three Stanley Cups with the Devils under Lamoriello’s guidance. “It’s hard when you do well to break any kind of chemistry, so it’s hard to think we’re going to go out and find a top player somewhere when we don’t want to give up anything… unless people are real nice to us and usually that’s not the case.”
Dating back to last summer, Lamoriello has already made several moves that may negate the need for much wheeling and dealing at the 11th hour. He signed Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik who had both previously played in New Jersey as free agents in the off-season before inking another two-time Devil, Brendan Shanahan, less than two months ago.
“We answered some of the question marks we had last summer,” Brodeur said. “We added some strength and size in the off-season, added Shanahan in the middle of the season, so we’re definitely happy with what’s going on here.”
Ironically, one Devil who could attract a lot of interest from other teams isn’t even on New Jersey’s roster right now. Goalie Scott Clemmensen, a career backup, elevated his stock by aptly filling in for Brodeur while the future Hall of Famer was sidelined for nearly three months with an elbow injury.
Brodeur’s return signalled a demotion to the minors for Clemmensen, but another big-league club might be interested in his services given his strong performance this year.
While Brodeur acknowledged being assigned to the American Hockey League was not an ideal situation for Clemmensen after playing so well, he also pointed out the 31-year-old probably never expected to get the NHL playing time he did when he signed with New Jersey last summer.
“For him, he built something he maybe didn’t expect to and that’s going to give him a great opportunity, hopefully (on deadline day), if not, in the summer,” Brodeur said.