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Devils GM Lou Lamoriello enters this off-season with the intention of bringing in some much needed scoring help, and there could be some big names available.
Likely at the top of that list would be Phil Kessel, who seems to have reached his expiry date in Toronto as the team gets set to embrace a full-flight rebuild.
Kessel wouldn't come cheap, though, and would likely cost the Devils the 6th overall pick - perhaps even more - to acquire.
While I personally wouldn't move that pick, Lamoriello hasn't closed he door on the possibility of doing so, and has shown a willingness to part with top-10 picks before.
Look no further than a couple years ago when Lamoriello surprised the hockey world by trading the 9th overall pick for franchise goaltender Cory Schneider.
That move has certainly panned out
, which may make Lamoriello less hesitant to do a deal like that again.
A good case can be made for or against such a deal, but there's no denying Kessel would help out the Devils 28th ranked offense in a big way.
If you don't include the lockout year - where Kessel scored at a 34 goal pace - he has scored 30 or more every season except for the one that just concluded. Even then, he scored 25 goals and tallied 61 points in what many consider a down year.
At 27 Kessel should have some good years left in the tank, and he's a good bet to bounce back next season.
In 2012-13 Kessel averaged 9.33 shots/60 minutes of 5 vs 5 time and shot 12.07%. In 2013-14 Kessel averaged 9.61 shots/60 and shot 12.5%. In 2014-15 he averaged 9.71 shots/60, yet shot just 7.5%.
Traditionally he's been an above average shooter, so if he can continue to record shots on a regular basis they're going to start going in.
Even if he's traded to a team like New Jersey without an elite center, producing big numbers shouldn't be an issue -- he's done it with Tyler Bozak in Toronto.
There's certainly no guarantee Kessel ends up in New Jersey, but it seems very likely he'll be traded, and he has the goal-scoring ability the Devils are desperately looking for.
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