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Saturday morning New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero made his second move of trade season, sending veteran defenseman Ben Lovejoy to the Dallas Stars. In exchange, the Devils received a 2019 3rd round pick and blueliner Connor Carrick.
The return, which I'll get to shortly, is very strong for Lovejoy. In saying that, I think he was probably better than a lot of Devils fans made him out to be.
His debut season with the team – one where he consistently played top pairing minutes – was a disaster. He was way over his head playing alongside Andy Greene and it was clear to see on a nightly basis.
Over the last couple of years, he played primarily a 3rd pairing role, which he is much more suited for, and handled himself fairly well. Were there tough moments? Absolutely. But he still finished with his head above water (50%) in terms of Corsi For%, Scoring Chance For%, Goals For% and was a key part of a very good penalty killing unit.
While I personally think the Stars overpaid for his services, I was not surprised to see a team do so.
Now to the return.
Carrick, 24, has yet to fully establish himself as an NHL regular. He can play a little, though. There is some skill there. His 5v5 production (.65 points/60) from 2016-present is nothing to write home about, however, it equals Justin Faulk's and betters Sami Vatanen's. Not bad.
His on-ice numbers check out, too, with his teams controlling 52% of the attempts, 52% of the goals, and 54% of the chances during the last two years and change. I think he can play on a nightly basis and is a better bet than Mirco Mueller, Steven Santini, etc. to make a positive impact.
Shero did really well to fetch a 3rd as well. He now has nine picks (including two 2nds and two 3rds) to play with in this year's draft. They could be used to stockpile the system even further or, more likely, dealt in order to bring in an established player who can help right away, much like we saw with the Kyle Palmieri and Marcus Johansson trades.
Whatever the case may be, Shero should feel good about acquiring a 3rd round pick and a young, cheap NHL player for a depth guy on an expiring contract.
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com
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