Category Archives: NJ Devils

Three winners and three losers from the 2017 NHL trade deadline 

The 2017 NHL trade deadline has come and gone. Quite frankly, it was pretty boring this year. No big or surprising names were moved. However, there was certainly enough action to determine winners or losers of the past few days.

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Recap: Hall/Larsson and Subban/Weber trades, plus Stamkos’ signing 

Yes — we are just as confused as you are. 

In thirty minutes, the course of the next NHL season changed dramatically. In what was likely the biggest flurry of trades in NHL history, PK Subban, Taylor Hall, Shea Weber, and Adam Larsson were all dealt. Not to mention Steven Stamkos re-signed in Tampa Bay. 

So let’s start at the first trade of the day. New Jersey acquired Taylor Hall from Edmonton in exchange for Adam Larsson. This was a desperate move met by a lot of scrutiny, mostly rightful, by Peter Chiarelli. With trading chips such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, a deal involving Taylor Hall shouldn’t have been necessary. Adam Larsson is a solid young defender, but nowhere near the caliber of defenseman that should have been brought in for Taylor Hall. 

Regardless, this likely makes Edmonton the firm landing spot for Milan Lucic. That’s not to say Lucic is a formidable replacement for Taylor Hall, but it is what is going to happen.  

As for New Jersey, they get a bonafide first line winger. They’ve been devoid of scoring for a few years now and this is a tremendous pickup. 

Just a few minutes later, rumblings from Nick Kypreos came out that PK Subban could be on the move. That happened a few minutes later when he was traded to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber. 

This is a mind boggling deal. Subban is a better player than Weber, who has significantly declined over the past few years. Weber will also be turning 31 at the start of the season and still has ten years left on his deal. It’s hard to find a rationale from Bergevin’s side when looking at this trade. 

From Nashville’s side, it is a fantastic trade. They get a younger, dynamic defenseman in Subban who can anchor their top-four for years to come. Ryan Ellis, PK Subban, Matthias Ekholm, and Roman Josi is a scary defensive corps. 

Moving on from trades, the Lighting also announced that they had re-signed big fish free agent Steven Stamkos to a eight year, 8.5 million per deal. This is a lower AAV than what other teams may have given him, but with no state income tax in Florida, he’ll earn a lot more than he would elsewhere. 

This changes Friday’s gameplan drastically. Almost every team was going to take a shot at Stamkos, so now they all have to revert to Plan B. David Backes and Frans Nielsen just moved up the leaderboard big time. 

Stay tuned for more NHL news, because I’m sure we’ll get some. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Toronto wins lottery, Jets move up to No. 2 

The annual NHL draft lottery was held on Saturday night and for the first time in six years the team that finished last in the league won the lottery. That team was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will have the chance to choose either Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine with the pick. 

There will be internal debate, but Auston Matthews is Toronto’s man. The center, currently playing in the Swiss league, will be ready to jump straight into the NHL in sheltered minutes behind Nazem Kadri (at least to start). 

Interest will be there from teams to move up, especially Arizona, but I do not foresee it happening. The Maple Leafs endured a tough season and waited a long time for this to happen, and to relinquish the ability to make the first overall selection would come at a high price. 

In other news and notes, the Winnipeg Jets moved up from #6 to #2. They’ll likely get the chance to take Patrik Laine, the Finnish winger that has drawn comparisons to Alex Ovechkin. 

I think there was a shot that someone like Buffalo or Calgary would have taken Laine first overall, but I don’t think it’ll happen now. 

Most of the teams remained in the spots they were originally at. 

Edmonton is picking at #4 and Jacob Chychrun or Matthew Tkachuk would be nice fits. 

Montreal got the #9 pick and will have a number of options to look at. Can things shake out so that Alex Nylander falls down to them? Entirely possible. 

New Jersey is at #10. Clayton Keller would be good for them. 

The months leading up to the draft will be full of preparation for the fourteen teams involved in the draft lottery plus many more as they are eliminated from the playoffs. The top three players in this year’s draft makes it an exciting one. With things like the salary cap and the expansion draft in play, there’s a lot to look forward to in terms of player movement come June. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

New Jersey Devils face complicated trade deadline situation

This article was contributed to the site by Drew, a lifelong Devils fan. You can find him on Twitter at @DWNJD. Charts via

The New Jersey Devils are in a tough spot after winning 5-2 Tuesday night at home against the New York Rangers, which would typically be a good thing. Although winning is always a good thing and the Devils currently sit one point behind Pittsburgh for a playoff spot, this leaves the Devils in a “limbo”, as they try to decide to sell or not at the NHL Trade Deadline, which is Monday at 3:00PM.

The two most valuable assets the Devils do have if they decide to sell are Lee Stempniak and David Schlemko. Stempniak, a 33-year old winger, has been surprisingly productive as a signing that came just before the season started. He is on a one-year deal that expires at the end of this season and being at a $850K cap hit makes him an extremely attractive option for teams that are close to the cap ceiling, like the Chicago Blackhawks. Stempniak has 41 points (16G, 25A) in 61 games played for New Jersey, which includes his goal last night against the Rangers.

Schlemko is valuable in a thin rental market for defensemen. The 28-year old defenseman has 17 points (6G, 11A) in 53 games played, which is a career high for him. Schlemko, like Stempniak, was also signed shortly before the season in training camp. He is also on a one-year deal that comes at a $650K cap hit. He has spent much of the season with the Devils in a “power play quarterback” role and some time on the penalty kill as well, making him an all-around solid defenseman.

It’s important to remember that the rental market for defensemen is extremely thin. Two deals have occurred in the last few days, with the Toronto Maple Leafs sending a package of Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling to San Jose for a second-round pick in both 2017 and 2018 along with (a cap dump of) forward Raffi Torres, and the Capitals acquiring defenseman Mike Weber retained at 50% for a 2016 third-round pick. Polak was considered one of, if not the, best rental defenseman on the market, and he was able to draw in a haul of not one, but TWO second-round picks. Mike Weber, whose WARRIOR chart had him ranked in essentially every category as a bottom-pair or only top-six defenseman, still was able to get a third-round pick (although retained at 50%). Roman Polak, who averages time on ice as a top-four defenseman, only ranked favorably to Schlemko in playmaking and production per 60 minutes, as Schlemko ranked higher in goals, shot generation and suppression, goal differential, useful possession, and goal generation and suppression on a 60 minute scale, despite having on average only a top-six time on ice. (You can see the charts below)


This all considered, Schlemko should have no problem fetching just as much as Polak, and certainly more than Weber, if Ray Shero decides to deal him.

Comparable: If Tyler Kennedy is packaged with Schlemko and the Devils take back a small cap dump, the trade can be extremely similar to the Polak to San Jose trade.

Stempniak will likely be the first option teams that fall of the race for Andrew Ladd and Mikkel Boedker go for. Stempniak’s offensive numbers, mentioned earlier, still are favorable to Ladd’s (17G, 17A) and Boedker’s (13G, 25A). Stempniak’s HERO chart (explanation of HERO chart here: shows overall better capability than Boedker, but Ladd takes the cake. Stempniak should not be overlooked in this crop of rental forwards though, as he provides a great all-around game, especially for his next-to-nothing cap hit. He should be able to fetch at least a second-round pick and a prospect or third-round pick, as he is one of the top rental forwards on the market with the lowest cap hit of them all.

Comparable: New Jersey trades Jaromir Jagr to the Florida Panthers for Florida’s second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in 2016. (Yes, this is from 2015, but it is certainly fresh in the minds of Devils fans, since these picks were used to acquire Kyle Palmieri.)

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Overall View: The Devils need to keep the long-term goal in mind. Ray Shero has done an excellent job clearing out was considered “dead weight” and filling in the open spots with younger, faster, hungrier players. This trade deadline is crucial to the future of the organization, due to the lack of prospects in the pipeline for the Devils. Attaining as many high draft picks as possible should be the goal regardless of where the Devils stand and how close to the playoffs they are.

That being said, the playoffs are still a possibility for the Devils. With the call-ups and emergence of forwards Joe Blandisi and Reid Boucher, the team in the red and black are still capable of a playoff berth. Paired with the return of the currently injured Michael Cammalleri, the Devils would have at least a competitive offense. Here’s a look at the likely lines without Stempniak or Schlemko:











Things to keep in mind approaching Monday’s trade deadline:

– Eric Gelinas could be in play. His quotes from Rich Chere’s interview with him showed frustration with his situation, which led to a talk with coach John Hynes. According to Chere, Gelinas has not asked for a trade yet.


– In Elliotte Friedman’s Reddit Hockey AMA, the Devils were mentioned a few times. He mentioned the Devils as a “dark horse” in the mix for disgruntled Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Drouin. Bob McKenzie also named New Jersey when talking about the Drouin situation this morning on TSN 1050 radio. He also stated the Devils were trying to decide whether to sell or not.


– The Devils have been scouting heavy lately. According to James Mirtle (@mirtle), New Jersey was one of the teams scouting the Maple Leafs vs. Predators game last night, which had 20 scouts in attendance. I tweeted Tom Gulitti yesterday and he responded that Philadelphia, Columbus, Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Dallas, and Los Angeles were scouting the Devils-Rangers game last night. Dallas and Los Angeles (in my own speculation) are teams that I could see being heavily interested in Schlemko. Tampa Bay makes me wonder if the Devils are in talks about Drouin, which would make sense since McKenzie and Friedman confirmed New Jersey’s interest.


– Other players that could be moved due to expiring contracts (although unlikely): Jordin Tootoo, Stephen Gionta, Tyler Kennedy, and Tuomo Ruutu. Keep an eye on Stefan Matteau too if the Devils make some sort of package deal.


– Ilya Kovalchuk was “dismissed” from SKA St. Petersburg’s practice the other day and made a healthy scratch for their second playoff game. It was reported today that SKA coach Sergei Zubov removed the captaincy from Kovalchuk, as well as scratched him for games three and four against Lokomitiv. Although there is nothing confirmed yet, there is heavy speculation that he could return to the NHL after this incident, or sign with another KHL team.


 -Drew, @DWNJD

Adam Larsson Could Mimick Victor Hedman’s Success

When Adam Larsson was drafted fourth overall in 2011, there was a lot of hype surrounding him, and rightfully so. It was the second time in three years that a Swedish defenseman went in the top-five, with Victor Hedman preceding him in 2009. Larsson, however, hasn’t translated all of his success into the NHL, but that could change very soon.  Read the rest of this entry

Could Toronto Trade Down with New Jersey?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most heavily covered teams headed into this draft. They have multiple big names on the trade market, including Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. But, the Leafs first and smartest move could come via the trade board itself. 
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Babcock’s Descision: What it Means for Toronto, Detroit, Buffalo, San Jose, and New Jersey

The Mike Babcock sweepstakes is over. On Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Babcock will become the 30th head coach in Toronto Maple Leafs history, as he inked an eight year deal at 50 million total salary. Babcock was sought after by multiple teams, but in the end, money and organizational power were big determining factors. 
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Jagr Traded to Florida, Clarkson to Columbus in Big Turn of Events

Well, general managers certainly don’t seem content on waiting until Monday to make trades after all? After a flurry of activity yesterday afternoon, today, by some grace of god, took the cake. Both Jaromir Jagr and David Clarkson (do you believe in miracles?) were traded, igniting what appears to be a fire sale for both franchises. Dave Nonis managed to partially erase the mess he started, and did what many people thought was to be impossible in trading David Clarkson.
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Two Possible Suitors for Jaromir Jagr

Although just turning 43 years old on February 15th, Jaromir Jagr still has a lot of hockey left in the tank. Jagr, much like he did with the Bruins in 2013, can provide a lot both on the ice and off the ice for a team looking to make a deep run in the playoffs. Jagr has 29 points in 53 games this season, averaging 17:58 time on ice per game. His stats this season, per 60 minutes played, are still good enough to be a second liner in the league, and he also has the advanced statistics to back it up.
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Evander Kane and the Devils?

It’s no secret the Devils need a lot of things, but getting another good goal scorer is a must do for the team at this point. They are relying on 42 year old ironman Jaromir Jagr to lead the team in points, with 15 in 26 games. Mike Cammalleri also has 15 points, but faces injury issues, much like the rest of the team. Only 7 players have 10 or more points, and 2 of those players are defensemen. Jagr’s team leading 15 points is tied with Eric Staal for lowest for any team leader in the league.
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Make it or Break it Seasons: Dany Heatley & Martin Havlat

Although both being prominent 20+ goal scorers once, Martin Havlat has seemingly fallen off the map while in California, where he played for 3 seasons in black and teal, as has Dany Heatley, in the great hockey state of Minnesota. Havlat was the big piece going to San Jose in July of 2011 in the trade which brought Dany Heatley to Minnesota, which quite frankly in the long run, meant just two large contracts switching teams. Both players, eager for a fresh start, never really found their grooves in their new homes, although the Sharks made it to the postseason 3 times with Martin Havlat, whereas the Wild only danced once with Dany Heatley on the roster. Almost 3 seasons later, both men hit unrestricted free agency, eager for a new start and a new team to play with, and new identities to create for themselves.
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Devils Address Offensive Needs Through Free Agency

Many NHL teams went into July 1 with hopes of addressing their offensive stuggles through the signing of a high-caliber scoring talent, and one of those teams were the New Jersey Devils. This team struggled to score goals all season, and despite having a positive goal and shot differential, the Devils ranked 27th in the “goals for” category in the NHL for the 2013-14 regular season. Read the rest of this entry