New Jersey Devils Draft Day - Christmas in July?
Draft day is here. What will the Devils do?
Nathan Bastian is gone, no surprise there as he was my choice. Butcher, PK and Johnsson are still here but don't be surprised if they do not put on a Devils sweater come puck drop as there will be a lot of moving pieces by teams in the coming weeks.
Good luck, Nasty Nate!
With the addition of Seattle to the mix, there is another team that could absorb contracts (bad or good), room for new players to emerge and a salary cap standing pat, this is a great year for a new franchise to step in.
Also, surprised and perplexed is a word to describe half of the picks the Kraken made when the expansion draft concluded. Notable names left off, obscure names picked up. We may not know what GM Francis was thinking but I am hoping the draft could answer many questions as I imagine trades should start dropping to make whole the expansion draft and any "side deals" that were made. (Carsen Twarynski of the Flyers?? Are you serious??)
So, the big question and excitement is what will the Devils do today?
If you read the July 22 interview where Amanda Stein spoke to GM Fitzgerald, he outlined "Three Things" the Devils need in this offseason:
1- Tandem Goaltending
The Corey Crawford experiment was perfect. Except it never really happened.
The Aaron Dell experiment didn't even move the needle. Done.
The Wedgewood experiment worked. Except it is not a long term solution (it is not a solution for a playoff team).
With many goalies left unprotected and many goalies with huge contracts, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Devils add a veteran to play with Blackwood and take some pressure but also be a mentor. Jonathan Quick's name has been tossed around the rumor mill.
Finishing Forward and Defensive Depth
This was before losing Bastian to the Kraken.
Tis was also before the Devils stole Ryan Graves from Colorado.
Losing a 3rd or 4th line forward and adding a top 4 D, I would say we are in better shape today.
Again, perfect time to have the luxury of cap space, this could be utilized in anyways; trades, free agency, taking on bad salaries, etc and Fitz will be creative but he is in the driver's seat.
I do not think they blow the load this season but next year may be the year they go all out and push the cap.
This is important and Fitz is trying to put together a competitive team that likes each other. I also think Jack Hughes has had some influence as Team USA had one of the best culture and chemistry as a team, on and off the ice, that I have ever seen. This is huge and often overlooked. Finding the right players, which will also include some vets.
One good thing about not losing Subban to Seattle is he is one of the burly old vets on this young team. The Devils need to add a few more gray hairs to babysit the locker room.
Draft Day is here...
WWDD - What Will Devils Do?
I think this draft is different due to the expansion and our cap flexibility, so I am going to suggest surprises today. Not only by the Devils but by teams and trades. There are plenty of unhappy players, players who want a change, salary shifting and then there are the draft class.
I do believe the Devils can be active in trades. Do they make a pitch for the likes of Eichel, Tarasenko, Ristolainen and Jones? Perhaps but Fitz can finish building his depth.
I do not anticipate the 4th overall pick to be traded and I do believe they would love to see Luke Hughes there at 4 - I think they take him.
(there is plenty of blogs up discussing the prospects up on the site) but I will stick with this prediction - unless it is included for a big fish.
Eklund is also a player that may make sense for the Devils, should Hughes not be there or if they trade down.
Keep in mind, the Devils also have the 29th overall pick in the latter stages of the first round.
Today will be exciting.
What do you think the Devils do today?
In other news, the Devils released their schedule.
Season opener on October 15th against Chicago at home.
14 sets of back to back games (I did love the 3-4 consecutive games we had during the COVID season, it brought a lot more intensity when teams can carry beef into multiple games. I think this is a god way to cut commute costs and also forge new rivalries.
The pending decision regarding NHL players playing in the 2022 Beijing Olympics may have an impact on the schedule. Stay tuned.
Very exciting day today for Devils fans, will it be Christmas in July?
The Devils Advocate