Madden 2009

Earlier this week, New Jersey Devil Brian Rolston went on the record as saying he hadn’t been a big fan of former coach Brent Sutter.

I imagine John Madden also wasn’t a big fan of the coach who often didn’t believe in matching and checking lines. After all, Madden is all about checking and matching.

But now, Sutter is gone, and Madden is an unrestricted free agent. Madden is a great checking center, and he has some offensive ability, which ironically, did not thrive under Sutter, an offense-minded coach. But less and less teams use a dedicated checking line, so you have to wonder what the market is for a player like Madden. And you have to wonder if the Devils are going to pass on Madden as a symbol that the team is no longer defense-first.

And I guess that’s what it comes down to. It’ll be tough for the Devils to make a decision on Madden until they know who their next coach will be, or at least until they know what kind of coach they want.

But I’d love to see Madden remain in New Jersey. It’s hard to think about the Devils and not think about Madden. He’s been a huge part of their identity for a long time.