Welcome to another edition of NHL Rumours! All-Star weekend has kicked off in Toronto, and trades have already begun to flow. The on-ice festivities aren’t the only thing active this weekend. Trade chatter has continued over the past few days after a handful of big trades have already gone down. In today’s NHL Rumours, we’re looking at the New Jersey Devils.
New Jersey Devils
Analysis: If there’s one team in the league that needs help in just about every facet on the ice it’s the Devils. They came into the season with Stanley Cup aspirations, but injuries to key players have them seven points out of a Wild Card spot. However, all hope isn’t lost with the imminent return of Jack Hughes back into the lineup. With the team looking as though they’re finally getting healthier, GM Tom Fitzgerald is reportedly working the phones in an attempt to go for a playoff push.
LeBrun’s report suggests that the Devils may take a look at acquiring both Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom AND defenseman Chris Tanev. With Dougie Hamilton going on LTIR, the Devils are suddenly flush with cap space, freeing up $9 million. The Devils on-ice troubles start in the net. All three goalies the Devils have started this season have a negative Goals Saved Above Expected. Their number one starter, Vitek Vanecek, leads the way with a -12.3 GSAx, good for second to last in the NHL. While saying Markstrom would fix all their problems is a bit hyperbolic, he would go a long way. He ranks sixth in the NHL in GSAx at 13. That type of quality goaltending easily wins the Devils a few more games than expected.
As for Tanev, the Devils are just one of a few teams who have reported interest in the expiring UFA. On top of losing Hamilton for the season, Jonas Siegenthaler has missed significant time with a broken foot, and Brendan Smith and Colin Miller have also missed time with injury. The Devils are currently deploying rookies Simon Nemec and Luke Hughes in prominent roles. John Marino is currently the most senior defenseman, having played only 300 games.
Tanev would instantly bring experience and stability to a defence core that is reeling. His 763 games of NHL experience would slide in on the top pairing, presumably with Luke Hughes, and instantly make the Devils a playoff calibre team again. Tanev has only nine points through 46 games but is an elite shot blocker and shutdown defenseman.
Between both Markstrom and Tanev, they would take up $10.5 million in cap space. The Devils wouldn’t need much salary retained to make a deal work. In fact, a cheap contract going Calgary’s way would likely make it work financially.
Main photo by: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
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