Deal with the Devils?

It’s been presumed for weeks that the Devils would likely be sellers at this year’s deadline. They’re currently second last in the stacked Metro division, and third last in the Eastern Conference. Again, they find themselves plagued by familiar maladies (cough, scorning) where the Devils rank 29th in the league. Ouch.

So sellers they will be. It’s the right thing to do, and GM Ray Shero has done a nice job of stockpiling assets. He has nine picks in the upcoming draft including one first, two seconds, two thirds and two fourth rounders.

But just cause you’re selling doesn’t mean GM’s are buying what you have. And this is the biggest issue plaguing the Devils—their lack of valuable (tradable) commodities. The names most mentioned form the Devils are obvious; PA Parenteau and Kyle Quincey are both on 1-yr deals, having respectable seasons and would add nice depth at a very cap friendly price for any team. But let’s be clear—these guys are likely “plan b” for most teams.

Tomas Vanek is most notable rental forward while the rest of the field is comprised of 2nd tier players like Hanzal (whom the Wild just sacrificed an absurd haul for) and past-their-prime stars like Iginla and Patrick Sharp. Those guys will be moved as much as a courtesy for them as it will be for the acquiring team. Beyond that, the field is a largely un-sexy* bunch.

*[The sexy names like Landeskog and Duschene will most likely be dealt this summer while Shattenkirk will probably be a Ranger whether it’s Wednesday or July 1 on his own volition].

So really, how valuable are the Devils assets?

For me, Quincey has the most value. He’s not particularly great at any one thing but he’s shown respectable numbers and eats significant minutes. Any team looking to make a deep playoff push could surely use some reliable depth on the back end. Given his negligible cap hit and he could fetch a 3rd, or given the way things have gone so far, a conditional 2nd if Shero plays his cards right. Not bad for a late pre-season depth addition.

Parenteau is another quality Shero pick up, and PA has fit in nicely in NJ. There’s even word they have interest in bringing him back. That said, his numbers (albeit streaky) are decent on an offensive starved team and he could garner a nice return. He may not be as sexy as a Vrbata or Doan but he could wind up being just as effective at a fraction of the cost. If Shero can flip him for a 2/3 he should do just that.

Other Devils notables:

Cammalleri: Ironic how his name has popped up a lot lately as a result of his slump. Despite not having scored in a month and having suffered the indignity of being a healthy scratch (2 nights) for the first time in his career, Camms is still a very solid player, leader and even scorer. He is smart, plays hard, still has hands and is still on pace for 46 points. His contract at $5MM per is the albatross here but if the Devils were to eat a small portion of his salary, he could be quite a savvy pick up for a playoff team. That said, I doubt he goes anywhere.

DSP: If a team were guaranteed a performance the likes of which DSP showed when he came to NJ a year ago, he’d go for a 1st round pick. However, he’s plummeted back to Earth this year and has struggled to find a consistent place in the bottom 6. Again, he’s a smart, physical player who is hard in the corners and can pot the occasional goal so it’s not like he doesn’t have value. The question is what…and whether it’s worth jettisoning him “just because”.

Kinkaid: Also an intriguing player, he’s been a solid backstop (save for a few clunkers) to Schneider and has even made the occasional highlight reel save. But he’s a UFA and the Devils are deep at the position so he may garner some interest. NJ would be wise to listen.

JaJo/Bennett: I have enjoyed Bennett on this team—his hard-nosed play, his consistent health and his humor about it all. I can’t think of someone who has hit more posts with shot attempts and think he could easily have 10+ goals if he were less snake bitten. And Josephson, bless his SO skills, just can’t seem to make that leap to consistent top 6 FWD—and he’s had all the opportunity to do so. Not sure if either has has any value given the pool of other players out there. Or at this point, to the Devils beyond this season.

It should be noted that this year’s draft isn’t as deep or highly regarded, as it lacks any of the immediate NHL-ready talent we’ve seen in the past few drafts. Teams may be more willing to give up higher picks as a result. In addition, the expansion draft is another obstacle GM’s are trying to assess as they shape their rosters come Wednesday.

Overall, I think the Devils will be relatively quiet—but not for a lack of trying. I believe Quincey goes and PA likely will, too. Camms is the real wild card, but Shero isn’t just going to give assets away for a pittance. I wouldn’t be surprised if NJ actually made a small acquisition, be it taking a flyer on a young player or bringing someone in for the purpose of exposing them in the expansion draft.

The real roster remake for the Devils will happen this summer. And with many players moving off the books and the 2nd most cap space in the NHL, it should be significant. But that’s a story for another day that’s in the not too distant future. For now, it’s all ears on Tweet Deck as we scavenge for the rumors to become reality. Enjoy the next 48hrs!



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