Lamoriello confident in current group
Devils' President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello addressed the media just after the 3 p.m. cutoff.
"You always try and get better with what you have," Lamoriello said. "You're never satisfied. To get better, the only way you can do that is if you don't subtract. Our team is, in my opinion, where we should be, and, I've said this before, the coaching staff has done an outstanding job of bringing a system in, and bringing all players into that system, even where there are a couple of new players. If we continue on that path and we don't get out of that, I feel very confident."
For Lamoriello, putting the right pieces in place for a playoff push has been an ongoing process. On Friday, he acquired Marek Zidlicky from Minnesota in exchange for Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux and two draft picks.
Foster was acquired in December and revived the power play. Alexei Ponikarovsky was acquired from Carolina in January and has five goals, six assists for 11 points in 15 games.
"We tried to adjust the team, certainly, as the season went to see where our needs were," Lamoriello said. "We were focused in on the power play when that was a problem and we acquired Foster in that trade with Anaheim. And with Travis' [Zajac] little bit of a setback, we then looked for size and strength up front and went and got Ponikarovsky at that time. And we had the opportunity to upgrade the defense with reference to a skating, puck-moving defenseman we felt could generate a lot of offense as well as [play the] power play and 5-on-5, and that was the reason for Zidlicky."
As long as Zajac and Henrik Tallinder remain sidelined, the hope is that their healthy returns could provide a timely boost down the road.
"The best two trades we could make is getting Zajac back and Tallinder back," Lamoriello said. "Hopefully, they will be ready at the right time. Other than that, there was nothing that could do anymore for us, other than subtracting to add, and the addition wouldn't have been anything that made us better."
Zajac skated again Monday, though Lamoriello said he's not close to practicing with the team.
Despite dropping their last two, the Devils (35-22-4) are 9-3-1 since the All-Star break and were set to visit the Rangers on Monday night.
Lamoriello feels strongly about what this group can achieve going forward.
"Adam Larsson came back the other night, he's been off quite awhile," he said. "He'll bring size and strength back. We're getting opportunities, we just have to go play. Play within the system that's asked, and [have] everybody do their jobs, play their roles."