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The New Jersey Devils need to add more scoring this off-season.
Though they found the back of the net 243 times, which was good for 15th in the NHL, they were much too reliant on Taylor Hall.
If Hall hit a rough patch, or missed a few games with an injury, the team simply couldn't score. Luckily that didn't happen too often – there is a reason the Devils made the playoffs, and a reason Hall won the Hart – but it's not reasonable to put so much weight on one player.
That's why I expect the Devils to add another established forward who can help fill the net in the coming weeks.
One guy Ray Shero is looking at is James van Riemsdyk, according to David Pagnotta of TheFourthPeriod.
The 29-year-old winger has averaged 30 goals per 82 games over the last five seasons. He has great hands, is money around the net, and he's durable having played 80+ games in four of the last five seasons. It's no surprise the Devils have checked in on JvR.
In saying that, I'm not sure he's an ideal target. He is coming off a career high in goals and, naturally, a career high in shooting percentage. The Devils would be buying high.
JvR is also 29 years old. He'll still be fairly productive moving forward but paying a premium for a guy exiting his prime doesn't seem like a good idea.
The Devils are also pretty set on the left side. Hall was the MVP last season. Marcus Johansson averaged 50 points per 82 games in four seasons prior to last. Miles Wood scored 19 goals in 76 games while averaging less than 12:30 per and Blake Coleman scored 13 while providing plus defense and penalty killing.
Three of the team's four centers are left-handed and they already have Jesper Bratt playing his off-side, too. Suffice to say, a left winger is not exactly a pressing need.
Maybe Johansson shifts to the right side and the Devils could have, um, seven(!) lefties in their top-9. Maybe not.
Based on positional strength, cost, term, and the fact the Devils would be buying high on a player exiting his prime, I think it makes more sense to stay away from JvR.
We'll see if Ray Shero agrees.
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Reviewing the Devils' 2018 draft class
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Examining the Devils' free agent options at LHD
The Devils should target Calvin de Haan
Miles Wood drastically improved in 2017-18