Lou's Devils stay the course while Avs, Wings load up for new season
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
(CP) - The Red Wings brought in Derian Hatcher and Ray Whitney while the Avalanche welcomed Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne during the summer.
The defending Stanley Cup champions? The Devils are excited about David Hale, Paul Martin and Matt DeMarchi, three former U.S. college players.
Welcome to New Jersey, where general manager Lou Lamoriello replenishes from within, year in and year out.
There's no such thing as a big free-agent signing, unless of course you count 42-year-old Igor Larionov ($1.5 million US), 26-year-old checker Erik Rasmussen ($600,000) or 26-year-old seventh defenceman Sean Brown ($500,000). That's just fine with Lamoriello.
"It wasn't our most talented team as far as talent, but it was one of the best teams we had here," Lamoriello said. "We found a way to win."
The knock on the Devils, and it's probably why they're rarely mentioned in the same breath as the Red Wings, is that they play a boring style of hockey. But Lamoriello's own peers know better.
"Lou's done an excellent job," Senators GM John Muckler said Wednesday from Ottawa. "I have a lot more respect for Jersey now than I did before last year's playoffs.
"They play a good transition game. They play offensive hockey as well as a lot of teams in the NHL. They can forecheck with the best teams in the league. They've got great speed. "I think they're a lot better team than people give them credit for."