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On the possibility of trading down from 17th overall and Ilya Kovalchuk

June 4, 2018, 10:36 AM ET [27 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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On potentially trading down

New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero recently spoke with Mike Morreale of NHL.com​ about a wide array of topics. The whole interview is worth a read but I'm going to comment on a few notable quotes in this post.

One of which came when discussing the possibility of trading down in this month's draft. Here is what Shero had to say:

"If you're going to move up, great, but what's the cost to move up?" Shero said. "Hey, we'd love to move down and get more assets, but you're never going to know that until you're on the draft floor and it's coming to your pick."

The Devils have drafted a lot of players over the last couple years so they're not in a position where they *need* to trade down and accumulate more assets. In saying that, it's probably still a good idea.

Drafting is very difficult. Statistically speaking, the chances of nailing a pick at 17 aren't all that different from nailing a pick a few slots lower.

If the Anaheim Ducks, for example, were to offer 23rd overall and include a 2nd or 3rd round pick to move up, it'd be smart to pull the trigger.

Then the Devils would recoup a pick they dealt at the deadline and, again, the gap between 17 and 23 isn't all that high. Teams will have wildly different boards this year, in particular. The Devils could very well be picking at 23 and have a player or two in their top-10 still available. They'd get someone they really want and have added another lottery ticket later on for their troubles.

On Ilya Kovalchuk

The Devils want to add more scoring up front and they have plenty of cap space available to do so. Ideally, they're looking for someone who can help while not getting in the way of the lucrative contracts Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier will be signing in the not too distant future.

"We obviously want to be in position to sign Taylor Hall a year from now and that contract would kick in (2020-21), the same season Hischier becomes a restricted free agent. So we have to be careful what we're doing beyond two years."

Bad optics from his departure aside aside, targeting Kovalchuk in free agency sure makes sense. He'd help address their scoring issues, he skates well enough to play in John Hynes' system, and his contract demands (two or three years) fit right in with the timeline Shero discussed.

Even so, a reunion still appears extremely unlikely.

"I've not reached out to Kovalchuk's representatives and I've not heard from them, so there you go."

That's not exactly surprising given how Kovalchuk left *and* how things played out last summer. I'd have loved to see him return, though.

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