Hello, New Jersey Devils fans!
After I left you last, Jersey’s team defeated their I-95 rivals the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-3 at home. They matched that with a spirited victory against the ever tough Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1.
However, the Devils hit the skids again the following four games as they dropped matches to the Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins before getting back in the win column Tuesday, Feb. 13 by defeating the Flyers in a shootout on their own ice.
As of Wednesday, New Jersey sits fourth in the Metropolitan Division with 64 points, behind the Flyers, Penguins and Washington Capitals. However, from the Devils down, the rest of the division is separated by just five points.
With the trade deadline approaching, New Jersey will have to make some moves to bolster their roster for the homestretch of the season.
For this edition, I decided to highlight several targets I would like to see New Jersey pursue prior to the trade deadline.
New Jersey and the Edmonton Oilers have matched up as trade partners before. Most recently when they shipped D-man Adam Larsson north of the border in exchange for stud forward Taylor Hall.
It would be really nice to see them engage in trade discussions again, with the Devils this time targeting center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Nugent-Hopkins, 24, has played in 46 games this season for Edmonton, logging 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists). He has been sidelined with cracked ribs recently and will likely be unavailable until around the trade deadline, which could help the Devils for the latter half of the season if his timetable is on par with what is expected.
With their playoff hopes dwindling by the day, they could choose to shop Nugent-Hopkins, who seemed to put all the pieces together this year before he got hurt.
He is owed $6 million a year through the next three seasons, but with the Oilers having $14 million to spend all next offseason, they could shed his salary by trading him to New Jersey.
However, if I’m Ray Shero the Devils general manager, I don’t trade them my young wingers. Wait out the market and see if you can manage to land him on a bargain.
It would be nice to see Hall and Nugent-Hopkins reunited on the ice together again, though.
Calvin de Haan
The Devils need a blueliner, plain and simple. Their defense has looked like Swiss cheese as of late and even with the addition of Sami Vatanen, haven’t been able to look like a cohesive unit.
De Haan is affordable, however, it might be hard to pluck him from the rival New York Islanders. He’s not flashy like a John Carlson or stable like a Mike Green, but he would give the Devils a nice boost on defense and won’t cost a ton monetarily.
He is a physical presence on the ice and blocks shots while not logging huge minutes for the Isles, plus, he isn’t a liability offensively, which would be a huge boost for New Jersey.
He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so if the Devils found a way to re-up with him after the campaign, I’d be thrilled. However, for the homestretch of the season, I think he would help shore up the defense as New Jersey seeks a playoff berth for the first time since 2011-12.
The Devils power play has looked horrendous as of late. On Sunday, they went 0/7 on the man advantage. To be fair, it really was 0/6 as they drew a penalty with under a minute left in the game, but still, not good.
Alex Galchenyuk would help provide a huge boost to the power play unit, and give them another scorer outside of Taylor Hall or Kyle Palmieri on the man advantage.
Galchenyuk, 24, could use a change of scenery from Montreal and if I’m the Devils I’d take a flyer on him and hope he can get back to being a guy with 30 goal potential like he was in 2015-16.
He just signed a three-year extension with Montreal, so he would come with two years of control beyond this one.
While he is young and affordable, I don’t see the Canadiens wanting a huge package for him, especially since they seem adamant on trading him away.
If the Devils could get him, I think he has the skill set to turn his game around. Plus, it would give them more scoring opportunities on the power play, a huge necessity for the team.