Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell
The New Jersey Devils made plenty of headlines during draft weekend, acquiring star defenseman P.K. Subban and selecting franchise cornerstone Jack Hughes with the top pick.
Those two moves alone made it a very good off-season for the Devils. There's real potential for it to become a great one.
Though they moved Jeremy Davies and a couple of fairly high draft picks in the Subban deal, the Devils are still well stocked with prospects to use if another trade opportunity arises.
They're also in exceptional shape financially and should be for some time, even accounting for the raises Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, and Jesper Bratt will get next summer.
They currently have $25.77 million to spend, according to CapFriendly. Only three teams have more and, well, one is the Ottawa Senators.
The Devils still have some players to re-sign, of course, but the big three – Will Butcher, Pavel Zacha, and Mirco Mueller – might be lucky to pull in $7 million combined.
That scenario would leave the Devils $18.77 million in space with 18 players under contract. Let's be somewhat conservative and say just a couple of Ty Smith, Jesper Boqvist, Nathan Bastian, Michael McLeod and Joey Anderson crack the roster as full-timers. The Devils would have filled two of the remaining five slots for less than $1 million each.
Put another way, it's a very real possibility they have nearly $17 million in cap with ~three vacant roster spots.
Never say never, etc, etc. but I think it's safe to say the Devils are not heading into another season with that kind of coin in their back pockets.
Not with Hall a year away from UFA and wanting to see more. Not with Hischier, Hughes, Bratt, and co. playing on ELCs and making much less than they're worth. The Devils can't waste that.
They also can't afford to sit on their hands and make a starved fanbase – one that's seen a single playoff appearance over the last seven years – wait any longer before *really* trying to take a meaningful step forward. That wouldn't sit well.
Maybe the Devils will again try to take advantage of a cap-strapped team like Vegas (Nikita Gusev could be available). Maybe they'll take a healthy run at one of the many notable scoring wingers in free agency. I don't know.
What I do know is the Devils aren't going to keep the money and enter the season without bringing in additional pieces. At least not if they can help it.
Damon Severson isn't going anywhere
Could the Devils be the landing spot for Michael Frolik?
Reviewing the Devils' 2019 draft class
New Jersey Devils acquire P.K. Subban
New Jersey Devils select Jack Hughes with 1st overall pick
Data tracking Hughes and Kakko at the Worlds
Five pieces the Devils could use as trade bait this summer
The Jack Hughes blog™