Devils’ Trade Targets to Improve Their Defense

Moving On

The Stanley Cup Finals have concluded, the St. Louis Blues have been crowned champions, and we can finally focus on the event we’ve all been waiting for: The 2019 NHL Entry Draft. It begins Friday, June 21st, and the New Jersey Devils will select first with the no. 1 overall pick. In all likelihood, they will choose Jack Hughes, bringing a young talented center into the Devils’ forward group. But after that, nobody knows what New Jersey will do with their nine remaining picks; the Devils have three second-round picks (34th, 55th, and 61st), two third-round picks (70th and 80th), one fourth (96th), one fifth (127th), one sixth (158th), and one seventh (189th).

Now I could talk about what a great draft this will be, and who the Devils could take in the second round. But at Devils Army Blog we acknowledge the fan’s perspective, and it’s easy to lose confidence in the rebuilding process when you get caught up waiting for prospects. Whether it’s fair or not, fans group together players like Michael McLeod, John Quenneville, and Nathan Bastian to point at the draft and say it’s not working. But the reality is, the next nine draft picks the Devils have are assets, and if general manager Ray Shero uses them wisely, he can start the Devils’ offseason with a bang.

Where to Start

It’s no secret that New Jersey has to improve on the blue line to compete next year, so hopefully, Shero is looking at defensemen the Devils could potentially trade for. The best place to start looking are teams with little cap space that need to get rid of contracts. One team like this is the Calgary Flames, who are practically begging for someone to take their defensemen. With $14 million in cap space and virtually no contracts expiring this off-season, they have five defensemen up for new contracts next offseason. This means that they’ll have to create some wiggle room to keep the players they want and get a return on their investment. In order to do this, they’ll likely trade away either T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, or Michael Stone.

Related: Devils Trade Series: the Dallas Stars

They’ll be free agents in 2020, meaning the Devils would not have to give up as much to get a player whose contract expires in a year. This brings me to other 2020 free agents, like Justin Schultz, a 30-year-old veteran on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jared Spurgeon, an elite blueliner on the Minnesota Wild, and Roman Josi, a star defenseman on the Nashville Predators.

These would all be great targets on teams that need to relieve cap space. With that said, the Devils can’t always trade for the best players, which is why it’s better to focus on certain teams. The Coyotes are another one of those teams with little cap space and ample defensemen. As DAB staff writer Anthony Barberio mentioned previously, Kevin Connauton would be a great option for a trade as a 2020 free agent who hasn’t yet hit his prime. But if the Coyotes aren’t willing to part ways with Connauton, then maybe they are with Jordan Oesterle or Jason Demers.

All in all, it’s extremely hard to predict what offers Shero might receive or pursue this offseason, but we can all agree something has to be done. Especially considering our main Metropolitan competitors are in the same stage of a rebuild as the Devils and are already jumping the gun. Before the St. Louis Blues even had a chance to parade, the Philadelphia Flyers went out and traded for Kevin Hayes and Matt Niskanen. While Hayes may not sign with Philadelphia and Niskanen may be a downgrade from Radko Gudas, the point is that the Flyers are plotting. Therefore, as diehard Devils fans in the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference, we must refuse to sit back while our rivals make moves. So I’ll ask you Devils Army, which defenseman do you think the Devils should try to trade for?


7 comments on “Devils’ Trade Targets to Improve Their Defense”

  1. John Reply

    I think they should try to trade for Torey Krug. He is coming into his final season with the Bruins and is looking for a larger extension. Bruins already have a handful of guys they need to sign including a few defensemen like McAvoy and Carlo. Insert the Devils, who have assets like draft picks and prospects to get a move for Krug done, and the cap space to extend him. Krug is a solid defenseman that can create offensive opportunities for his team and also plays with the speed NJ likes.

  2. Mac Reply

    Interesting read for all Devils fans. A deal with
    Calgary or Arizona could work well. Trade a second round pick and some depth on offense to get a top 4
    blue loner who can step in and play in 2019-2020.

  3. Brian Reply

    We don’t need any more mediocre guys. We have plenty of that. The speculation is that we won’t be re-signing Vatanen. So after this season ends we’ll have Severson as our defensive veteran. That is far from ideal. We need to get a veteran. Best case scenario is Stralman & or Gardiner because we wouldn’t need to give anyone up to get them. My first trade option would definitely be Trouba. At 25yrs old, 6’3″ over 200 pounds, & a proven top Dman he fits in perfectly. Trouba & Severson would be a great 1-2 punch on the right. I’d trade Ty or Butcher in a heartbeat. Ty looks great but we have to wait for him to develop in the NHL & see what his ceiling is. We know Trouba is a #1 just reaching his prime with a long career left. If that’s the move then Vatanen goes to the left with Greene & Butcher or Ty. #3RD would be Mueller, Santini, & Carrick. That would be a tough defense. We’d either need to re-sign Sami or find a replacement for him or someone like Mueller or Davies to step up & take the job.

    I’d love to trade for PK. We can afford his $9 for 3yrs. He’s a great locker room guy. He’s physical. He’d be a great veteran presence. The top pairing guy we need. He’s 30 but there’s a ton of Dmen that play great hockey up to 35& we’ll have him til 33. His 3yrs allows us to keep developing from within. He’s definitely not worth Ty or Butch. Fabbro is ready to move up so if anything they need a 3rd pair Dman @ a low price. They need cap space for Duchene & they need offense. I think something like their 2nd Rd pick Qville type player, & someone like Santini, Carrick, or Mueller.

    I’d really like Faulk too. 35 pts w 25@ even strength. Avg’s 22 minutes. 121 blocks & 156 hits which is awesome. 47 takeaways which is great. The 66 giveaways not so much. He’s very durable & doesn’t miss very many games. Carolina was better this yr so he was +9. OPS 2.5 DPS 4.9 PS 7.4. This was the 1st yr he was negative CF rel since his 2nd yr. His on ice GF was 70 vs his on ice GA was 58. Offensive zone starts @54%. He’s only 27. Those are really good #’s. He’s @$4.8. Becomes a FA next season so he shouldn’t be very expensive. They’ve got almost $6 in Hamilton, $5.3 Slavin, $4.5 DeHann, $4 Pesce. $20 in 4 players on D is a lot. They only have 14 players under contract, 6 of em D, & they know they need to significantly upgrade offense. He’s been rumored to be on the trade block the last couple of yrs.

  4. John Gacinski Reply

    I just read that PK Subban is a great locker room guy. What? The habs traded him and now Nashville is looking to trade him because he is exactly the opposite. Plus, his game us declining. The devils want no part of PK.

    • Mac Reply

      Trouba or Faulk or Gardiner would be very interesting and could help now .

      I would keep Ty and Butcher . The D needs help thru , draft, free agency and trades.

      The Devils need to find teams . The key is finding team with cap space issues would would be interested in Devils draft
      picks and Devils prospects on offense .

  5. Smitty Reply

    Shero wants Trouba but he won’t give up Smith for it.
    Swap Vats retained at 50%, Mcleod and our own Second, throw in a bottom defender and take back a contract

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