Well, we are down to 7 games left this season for the New Jersey Devils. More importantly, only 18 more days until the Draft Lottery. I am so nervous and excited to see what will happen, I’m also hopeful that the Devils will get lucky…again!
Anyway, back to my interview series. For my next interview, I spoke with Cole (@Cole_NJD) and asked him a few questions…
Q: Who is your favorite player on the current roster? Why?
A: Cole – “This is never easy but after some long thought I’m gonna go with Blake Coleman. He’s a guy who gives his all every game, whether down by 5 or leading by 10. He’s an amazing catalyst for the penalty kill and seems very under the radar among general fans of the NHL, which is why I’d consider him underrated. Sure, he’s not gonna put up amazing numbers offensively but I believe he’s a very valuable part of the team in areas that tend to go unnoticed.”
Q: Which prospect are you most excited to (hopefully) see on the roster next season? Why?
A: Cole – “In my opinion, our prospect pool gets too much slander. Though I will say, I wish there were more players who are proven in pro level hockey, ideally in North America. Many of which were drafted in 2016 or after so they’re still very young and there’s no knowing how they’ll pan out yet. My favorite has gotta be Ty Smith. He has an outstanding pedigree and fills a huge need on our blue line.”
Q: Do you think Taylor Hall will re-sign with the Devils?
A: Cole – “This is something that has haunted me and other Devils fans ever since it was apparent that this season was one to forget. I’m going to try not to have much concern unless that contract isn’t signed by next season (obviously I’ll still be thinking about it and having nightmares). He has a great relationship with the Devils though, he’s coming up on 3 years now which should help his decision out a lot. People love to compare this situation to John Tavares leaving the Islanders but I don’t buy the idea that it was an easy decision for him (Tavares). Hall is smart and trusts Ray Shero to get this team going in the right direction. However it is a concern how he’s in his prime, has a long history of losing in the NHL and rebuilds can take a very long time when trying to settle for nothing more than a true cup contender. Every team in the league would drool over the idea of offer-sheeting Hall and potentially adding them to their roster while only giving up cap room. I do believe he will re-sign this July and Devils fans can finally release their long held breath.”
Q: If you had to fire a current coach, who would you pick?
A: Cole – “This one has got to be Rick Kowalsky. Long story short, he’s mishandled way too many players on the power play. For reference, this power play is far less effective than in 2014-2015 under Geoff Ward (who many including myself didn’t like) where it was ranked 8th in the NHL despite having a very poor roster (which ranked 10th last season and 20th so far this year). To me this is inexcusable and I’d like to see him gone before next season, but not until he helps out this seasons tank.”
Q: Which player on the current roster do you think has the least amount of future potential?
A: Cole – “I’d say Kurtis Gabriel. Someone like Drew Stafford is very underwhelming but he at least stays out of the box for the most part. Gabriel can’t say the same and provides next to nothing on offense or defense.”
Q: Biggest question – Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko?
A: Cole -“This is something that’s way too hard for me to answer personally. But, if we manage to get a top 2 pick, I’ll definitely be watching a lot of shift by shift videos of both of them to form an opinion (like I did in 2017 and determined that Nico should be our man). I’ll give the majority of scouts the benefit and say Jack Hughes for now.”
Thanks Cole for taking the time to answer some questions! Stay tuned for next week for a new set of questions and a new interviewee!
Featured Image: AP Photo