Setting the table for the New Jersey Devils in free agency
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NHL free agency officially gets underway at noon Eastern and the expectation is the New Jersey Devils will be fairly active.
Word is they already have a deal lined up with Eric Gryba.
Gryba is a 3rd pairing/rotational defender who brings an edge and can help kill penalties. With Sami Vatanen and Damon Severson locked into the top-4 on the right side, Gryba seems like a good bet to split duties with Ben Lovejoy on the bottom unit.
Gryba is nothing to get excited about but he's OK at what he does. If the term is short and the money is low (it will be), I don't really have an issue with this.
On a larger scale, the Devils are among the handful of teams trying to sign Patrick Maroon.
Whether they get him or not remains to be seen but it's clear they want to have more scoring pop up front than they did for 3/4 of last season. If Maroon goes elsewhere, I expect the Devils to turn their attention to another top-9 forward. David Perron would have been a really nice add, especially at what he signed for in St. Louis (4x4).
I also expect the Devils to upgrade the left side of their defense. There's no reason for them not to be seriously involved in the Calvin de Haan sweepstakes. He's sneaky good and reliable in his own end. I think he'd be the perfect partner for Severson.
Should de Haan land elsewhere, I don't mind Thomas Hickey or, to a lesser extent, Dan Hamhuis on the left side. One way or another they need to add a proven body there.
The possibility of plugging holes via the trade market still exists, too. The Devils have the flexibility to use their cap space as a weapon and I wouldn't be surprised if they do just that.
Either way, the next few days should be interesting. I doubt Ray Shero is going to sit on his hands.
On de Haan, adding forwards, and cap space
On Moore, Maroon, and free agency
Reviewing the Devils' 2018 draft class
Devils get excellent value at 17 with Ty Smith
Examining the Devils' free agent options at LHD
The Devils should target Calvin de Haan
Miles Wood drastically improved in 2017-18