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We’re still ~a week away from this year’s trade deadline but it’s becoming very clear it is a sellers market, be it for rentals or players with (some) term.
LA’s decision to part with rental Tyler Toffoli – rather than extend him – was made pretty easy when Vancouver put highly regarded prospect Tyler Madden, one of the NCAA’s best players, and a 2nd round pick on the table.
Meanwhile the Devils landed a high quality prospect (Nolan Foote) and a 1st round pick for 1.25 seasons of Blake Coleman. As much as we all love Coleman, he will be on the wrong side of 30 a month into Year 1 of his next deal. He didn’t fit the team’s timeline and, when pressed with offers like the Devils received from the Lightning, interim GM Tom Fitzgerald simply had to pull the trigger.
Fitzgerald may soon have to do the same with Kyle Palmieri.
Like Coleman, Palmieri is very solid player and a fan favorite. He’s also going to be 30 before he plays a single game on his next contract.
If the Devils are, say, three years away from being a high-seeded Stanley Cup contender, you have to ask yourself if a 32-year-old Palmieri will be a driver on the team and worth, I don’t know, $6.5 million per season. I have my doubts, especially given his robust style, and his next deal will probably run multiple seasons beyond that. We all respect Palmieri for the way he plays but he gets banged up a lot and power forward-types don’t tend to age gracefully in their 30s.
Coleman is an awesome two-way player. He’s also on pace for 44 points, which would be a career high. If he can essentially get you a pair of 1st round picks, I have to imagine Palmieri – producing at a 33-goal, 62-point pace over 82 games – will command a similarly strong package.
I know Fitzgerald doesn’t want to burn the whole thing down. He’s talked about the importance of having some veterans around for the kids. He has also talked about using some of these high-end assets to get players who can help now and long-term.
If the Devils were to land a 1st round pick in a package for Palmieri, which would be a strong bet, they could have as many as four in this year’s draft. They could trade a couple in deals for two quality pieces – pieces that aren’t going to be 30 in a year – to improve the team immediately and still have plenty of draft capital to add high-ceiling players to the core.
Fitzgerald should by no means be shopping Palmieri and trading him to the highest bidder, even if the return doesn’t feel like a homerun. But if a Coleman-type package is presented to him, he might just have to do it.
numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com
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