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A rough baseline's been set should Devils move on from Palmieri or Coleman

February 11, 2020, 10:24 AM ET [45 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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There has been a lot of debate about whether the New Jersey Devils should consider trading non-rentals like Kyle Palmieri or Blake Coleman.

It’s a somewhat complicated issue where valid points can be made for both sides of the argument.

On one hand, the Devils want to turn the ship around sooner than later and they have a much better chance of doing so with established, top-6 caliber players like Palmieri and Coleman remaining in the fold.

On the other hand, the Devils won’t be ready to contend for a Stanley Cup next season. That means Palmieri and Coleman will both be on new, more lucrative deals the next time the Devils are good. They will also be on the wrong side of 30 in Year 1. Not ideal, especially if we’re talking about long-term contracts.

I would think they will stay put for now but it’s unclear what path ownership and management will take. What’s not unclear: the Devils will be able to get quality returns if they move on from either player.

Last night Jason Zucker fetched Minnesota a 1st round pick, a potential top-4 offensive defenseman (Calen Addison) and an expiring that could be flipped if he shows a pulse in the coming weeks (Alex Galchenyuk).

It’s certainly worth noting the outputs for Palmieri and Coleman – be it production or on-ice – are legitimately as good or better than Zucker’s over the last couple of seasons.

Zucker has scored fewer goals than both players, one of whom (Coleman) rarely sees power play time. His 5v5 rate stats aren’t as strong either, and his relative numbers are the worst of the bunch in two of the three categories.

This is anything but an attack on Zucker. I think he’s a very solid player and I expect him to do great things in Pittsburgh, especially spending the vast majority of his time riding shotgun with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

I’m only pointing out Palmieri and Coleman have accomplished just as much as Zucker over the last 120+ games. If Zucker can fetch a 1st round pick and a quality prospect, the Devils have every reason to expect a strong package as well.

Yes, Zucker has three years left on his deal. That is a big factor. But Coleman is one of the NHL’s best bargains at $1.8 million and, even accounting for a massive raise, is going to make less than Zucker ($5.5M) regardless of where he ends up.

Palmieri is likely heading for the ~$6M range. In the meantime he offers ~$1 million in savings compared to Zucker and his numbers have been stronger over the last couple seasons.

Barring an extension coming in tow, Palmieri and/or Coleman won’t land the Devils as much as the Wild fetched for Zucker. That said, I think the trade helped set a rough baseline of what a deal could look like.

Get out of here with the 2nd or 3rd round pick + a 22-year-old C-level prospect non-sense. Even without a new deal attached, it’s going to cost at least one high-end asset for the Devils to put a second of thought into moving on from either player. As it should.

numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com and CapFriendly.com

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