Who the Devils Must Trade, and the Possible Returns

Brian Boyle has exceeded expectations during his tenure with the Devils. –USA Today

Introduction

It certainly has been a disappointing season for the New Jersey Devils. They sit ten-plus points out of a playoff spot, signaling they’ll likely be sellers rather than buyers at the trade deadline. The Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline is nearing, so it isn’t a bad idea to start wondering who will be traded and what the possible returns will be.

Brian Boyle

Brian Boyle has done a good job making what looked like a questionable contract at the time worth it. The 34-year-old veteran center is slated to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The beloved face-off and penalty kill specialist is an interesting case to examine.

Boyle is currently on pace to score 21-22 goals — which would be career high — and tally his second highest point total of his career. This is a great indication that the Devils will be able to get a nice return on the veteran. To put it in perspective, Boyle was traded from the Lightning to the Maple Leafs during the 2016-17 season. At the time of the deal, Boyle had 13 goals and 9 assists in 54 games played. This trade netted the Lightning a second-round pick and a prospect (Byron Froese).

This time around, Boyle will be traded with more goals and more points all in fewer games played than in 2016-17. So, a return that is similar to the one he fetched a few years back isn’t unreasonable to expect. Ultimately, a second and a third rounder, or even just a late first-round selection, along with a prospect is ideal for Brian Boyle.

Trading Brian Boyle makes perfect sense, but it may not happen. We all know what he had to bravely endure health-wise the past couple of seasons. With that in mind, the tweet above certainly makes sense. The only way it seems like Boyle will be traded is if he is completely onboard with the destination.

Possible Trade Partners: San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs

Devils forward Marcus Johansson has often been injured during his tenure with the Devils. –NJ.com

Marcus Johansson

Unfortunately, Johansson’s tenure with the Devils has been disappointing. When general manager Ray Shero made the deal to bring him in for two early draft picks, expectations were high. However, the often-injured Johnasson hasn’t panned out. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent come the end of the season, so trading him if he’s not in the team’s future plans is a must.

Gauging the trade value of Johansson is a hard task. Some teams may not view him as a rental, as he is still relatively young. He’s certainly shown flashes of what he was in Washington and staying healthy is the key to unlocking that potential. The stretch between now and the trade deadline will be the determining factor in what the Devils can get as a return.  For now, I’d expect a mid-round pick or two as a return for Johansson. If he shows in these next few weeks he’s the winger the Devils originally traded for, a low-end second round pick should not be out of the realm of expectation.

If the Devils aren’t able to get what they believe is enough for Johansson, they shouldn’t rush to deal him. Even though he is a pending unrestricted free-agent, his worth in the offseason will not be very high. Bringing back Johansson would be a bargain for the Devils. This something is Shero should definitely investigate if they are not blown away by any trade offers.

Possible Trade Partners: Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers

Ben Lovejoy

Devils fans will most likely be relieved when they see Lovejoy’s name mentioned come the trade deadline, but he’ll be highly valued by many teams looking to make a run. The veteran defenseman, who is also on an expiring contract, has a lot of playoff experience and is a more than a formidable bottom-pair defenseman.

Lovejoy will be 35 years old by the deadline. He certainly shouldn’t be regarded as a part of the Devils future plans, which makes trading him imperative. A return on Lovejoy will probably shock many. A couple of mid-round selections, maybe a third and/or fourth-round pick, should certainly be an option.

Possible Trade Partners: Calgary Flames, Toronto Maples Leafs, Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins

Keith Kinkaid is slated to be a UFA at the end of the season. –NJ.com

Keith Kinkaid

Kinkaid has had an interesting season. He’s shown signs of what he was last year when he helped guide the Devils to the playoffs, but he’s also looked miserable at points. This fan-favorite is also on an expiring contract, and to add the fact that the Devils have quite a log jam at the goaltending position, a trade involving Kinkaid should be inevitable.

Unfortunately for the Devils, goaltenders usually do not get a lot in returns at the deadline. Goaltender Calvin Pickard, who is largely regarded as a lower end backup in the league, fetched a sixth-round pick in the offseason. A reasonable return for Kinkaid, mostly due to his recent struggles, would be a fifth-round pick.

Possible Trade Partners: San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, Vegas Golden Knights

Conclusion

Of course, trade deadline deals will not be limited to the names proposed above. However, the four New Jersey Devils players above are the most likely to be moved. As the deadline continues to get closer keep close eyes on the Devils Army Blog page. As a blog, we will be releasing our top 15 trade deadline tracker, which will be a helpful tool come the deadline.

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1 comment on “Who the Devils Must Trade, and the Possible Returns”

  1. Vincois Reply

    Hopefully we find partners. Might not be so easy. I think Flyers have been trying to peddle Wayne Simmons for a long time, but there asking price is probably high.= many are interested, but few willing to pay the price. I love KK, but I doubt anyone is going to pay much for CS at this point. He’s not going anywhere. I thought they might like to keep Johanson. He has skills. The Devils need gritty type fw’s (Ferland–Simmons).

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