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The New Jersey Devils have made a lot of noise this off-season, adding the likes of P.K. Subban, Jack Hughes, and Wayne Simmonds in recent weeks.
Still, there's plenty of talk they might not be done. Comments made by ownership, which were published on the team's official Twitter account, probably only add fuel to the fire. Understandably so.
Should the Devils be emptying the war chest and chasing every possible upgrade to win in the immediate future? No, and I don't think they're trying to do that.
Should they still be looking to add another piece or two if the prices are reasonable? Absolutely.
I realize the core is more built towards success in a few years. Nico Hischier is 20, Jesper Bratt is 20, Jesper Boqvist is 20, Ty Smith is 19, Hughes is 18, etc, etc. It doesn't make sense for the Devils to be pushing all of their chips to the middle of the table right now.
With that said, there's an argument for pushing *some*. Three of the team's top-6 forwards (Hischier, Hughes, and Bratt) are on ELCs making pennies. Taylor Hall, the Hart Trophy winner in 2017-18, only costs $6 million. Even a year from now, the salary cap outlook will be a lot different.
Hischier will be making bank. Bratt will get a sizeable chunk, too, and Hall's salary should nearly double in size if he sticks around. The Devils are going to have way less money to surround their core pieces so they need to take advantage of the flexibility while they have it.
That's not to say they should be taking on big-money, long-term contracts. That could complicate things in a year or two. But if they can acquire a player like Nikita Gusev, for example, to add more scoring on the wing and only commit the expected asking price of ~$4 million per on a two-year deal, it makes sense to pull the trigger.
If Jake Gardiner is willing to bet on himself on a one-year deal before attempting to cash in a year from now, that's another avenue worth exploring.
There are obviously other paths to improvement. Those are just a couple players who a) fill needs and; b) could realistically be had.
Watching GM Ray Shero leading up to training camp is going to be really interesting. Intended or not, Josh Harris put some pressure on with the comments he made. Many fans are now expecting another move and will surely be disappointed if they don't get one. We'll see if Shero can deliver.
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