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973area has new update 1 day ago Balancing Win-Now and The Future
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images Tom Fitzgerald has a tough job this offseason: to retool this roster to make it competitive next season while not mortgaging the bright future that this franchise still has. It will be stressful for him, but if he wants to keep this job for much longer, he needs to figure it out. As we enter the offseason after a truly disappointing 2023-24 regular season by the New Jersey Devils, Tom Fitzgerald has to do a lot of work to get this team back to where it should be, where it was last year. This team should have been taking a step forward this season, but instead took a massive step backward. There are a lot of issues to clean up and sort out, and it is not going to be an easy task. Fitzgerald is on the hot seat, at least by fans, to do something this offseason, and he will have to deliver if he wants a job here long-term. Another outfight failure of a season next year could spell doom for many people in this organization. What I think could end up being challenging for Fitzgerald is how to balance making moves to get this team back into contention next season, something that absolutely needs to happen, while still keeping the bright future of this squad alive. It would be easy to go all-out to put together a top roster for next season, but that could come at the cost of the future, and with the core of this team still so young, that would be folly. Fitzgerald needs to figure out moves that will improve this roster now, while not destroying what could be for the following seasons. Trading a first-rounder could be ok for the right piece, but trading away multiple top picks for older players who don’t fit into the timeline of this franchise right now would be a bad move. Yes, this season was a waste for players in their prime and who are playing at the top of their games like Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes, and Nico Hischier. But those guys, along with other core members, are still young and have time. So he has to balance giving them a chance to win now, while not destroying the fact that they can still win for years to come. To that end, there are moves he definitely needs to make, as he cannot do what he did during the season and just sit on his hands for too long. Changes and upgrades need to happen. First, and most obviously, he needs to find a goaltender. This has to be done without question, and it possibly could take some decent capital to make happen. As Gerard said the other day, he should not just make a crazy move just for the sake of doing it, but he also should not just settle for a cheap, potentially short-term replacement. He needs to find someone who can be trusted and counted on for 50 starts next season, plus potential playoff games. And not to post a sub-.900 save percentage while doing it. He also probably needs to find another defender. Yes, if John Marino and Jonas Siegenthaler can show their form from two years ago as opposed to this past year, and with the growth of Hughes and Nemec along with a healthy Dougie Hamilton, that would work. But that is expecting a lot to go right without contingencies. Getting in another solid defender, perhaps a second-pairing guy, would really do wonders to solidify this blue line and get the defense back on track. Someone like that could be had without breaking the bank while still providing good value for next season. And even if everything does work out with Marino and Siegenthaler, having an extra guy there just improves the defense overall, and prevents overreliance on third pairing guys like Kevin Bahl. Finally, Fitz probably needs to look into the bottom 6, or at least the wingers on this offense to find some secondary scoring. With Dawson Mercer taking a step back this season, and with Holtz now with only one full year of NHL experience and questions about what he will end up becoming, depth scoring needs to be addressed. If Fitz can find another quality middle-6 scoring piece, and perhaps also bolster the bottom 6, that would do wonders too. Is Nathan Bastian coming back healthy next season? Is Michael McLeod ever playing NHL hockey again, and if he does, do the Devils want to bring him back after he showed so much promise early this year? How do they project Ondrej Palat moving forward, entering his age 34 season next year with a large contract just waiting to turn into an albatross once father time takes hold? These three items to address can all be done to really improve this team for next season without mortgaging the future that is really bright for this young core. It is not an easy task by any means, but it is doable and could really make this one-year disappointment just that: a blip on the radar of what should become a perennial contender. If he goes too far this offseason, it could be damaging to the future, but he has to do something or else he will not last much longer as the GM of this team, especially after sitting on his hands for way too long during the season to make changes and bring in what was needed. Let’s see what he does!
973area has new update 2 days ago METC Architecture Tour
Saturday, May 18, 2024 - 11:00am to 12:30pm $15Join the museum’s Executive Director to explore some of the many architectural gems in downtown Madison including the James Library Building. This includes a short walking tour. Pre-registration is required.    Recommended Age: All New JerseyNorthernMorrisEventsTours & AttractionsAge: KidsTweens & teensGrown-ups Museum of Early Trades and Crafts 9 Main Street 07940 Madison , NJ Phone: (973) 377-2982 40° 45' 34.6212" N, 74° 25' 0.8688" W New Jersey Ticketed: Activity Category: AcademicArtsAdmission Services
973area has new update 2 days ago Christmas in July at Casino Pier
Saturday, July 27, 2024 - 1:00pm to 5:00pm FreeGet into the holiday spirit this summer at Christmas in July. Holiday fun includes photos with Santa, Ice Sisters Sing-a-Long, holiday concerts and more. Events take place at both at the Waterpark and the Pier.     Recommended Age: AllNew JerseyJersey ShoreSeaside HeightsEventsAge: BabyPreschoolersKidsTweens & teensGrown-ups Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark 800 Ocean Terrace 08751 Seaside Heights , NJ Phone: 732-793-6488 39° 56' 33.3528" N, 74° 4' 9.7284" W New Jersey Ticketed: Activity Category: FreeAdmission Services

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