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Could the New Jersey Devils trade Damon Severson?

May 15, 2018, 12:10 PM ET [72 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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Let me preface this by saying I wouldn't trade Damon Severson.

Over the last two seasons, only 19 defenders have tallied more primary points at 5v5. Severson has matched the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Werenski, Ryan Suter and Mathew Dumba in that regard. Pretty good company.

Severson's rate stats are similarly impressive. Among 207 eligible defenders (1,000+ minutes), Severson is tied with Jake Gardiner, Jared Spurgeon and Dmitry Orlov for 26th in 5v5 primary points per 60. Again, pretty good company.

Using the same criteria, Severson ranks 20th with a +3.3% Corsi relative to the team when he is not on the ice.

So, in short, he's an efficient producer at 5v5, he drives possession, he's a right-handed shot, he's 23, and he's signed for five more years at ~$4.16 million per season.

Doesn't make sense to trade him, right? Yet I could see it happening. Maybe it's not likely, but it's within the realm of possibility.

The biggest reason why, I would think, is the coaching staff's handling of Severson.

I don't think he's ever been entirely on the same page with the new regime. I remember then Devils beat writer Tom Gulitti tweeting about Severson being made an example of​ in Hynes' first training camp with the team and, from the outside, it's been rocky since.

Severson has been healthy scratched a handful of times over the last three seasons. This year he not only sat out some regular season games, but a playoff game against Tampa Bay as well.

It'd be one thing if the Devils were a stingy defensive team with a lot of quality depth on the back end. They're not.

Severson, a solid 5v5 producer who drives play and (rightfully) makes more than $4 million annually, was benched in favor of a guy who has 10 points in 82 career games, horrible underlying numbers, and a cap hit of $850,000. If it's not obvious who I'm talking about, it's Mirco Mueller.

I'm sure Severson was not happy about missing games, especially in the playoffs. Whether Ray Shero agreed with the decisions or not, I doubt he enjoys having a player making that much money watching from above.

For that reason, I could see them turning the page.

Hynes obviously isn't going anywhere. Shero could be Severson's biggest fan but that doesn't much matter. If Severson is not going to be used like a $4.16 million player, it doesn't make a ton of sense to keep him around and pay him like one.

By now you all know I'm a Severson backer. Again, I wouldn't be looking to trade him and my ask would be high.

But if the Devils can get their hands on another young, established defender in a similar situation – in a perfect world someone like Oscar Klefbom – it might be best to pull the trigger.

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