Your weekly dose of New Jersey Devils news, rumors and analysis.They call this the dry season.
After finishing the 2015-16 campaign in seventh place in the Metropolitan division, the Devs have entered the humdrum period of offseason oblivion.
But… there’s hope!
The draft is on Friday, and free agency is set to begin at the start of next month. Soon, rookie camp will be help, preseason games will be played, and before you know it, it’ll be October again.
But, in the meantime, Is It October Yet?
Here’s what’s transpired over the past week for The Jersey Devils:
Ponderin’ the Draft
#NJDevils hold nine picks in next week's NHL Draft: Rd 1 – 11; Rd 2 – 41; Rd 3 – 73, 77; Rd 4 – 102, 105; Rd 5 – 132; Rd 6 – 162; Rd 7 – 192
— NJDevilsPR (@NJDevilsPR) June 16, 2016
Rebuilds occur from the bottom-up. Devs general manager Ray Shero has the arduous task of finding talented teenagers to play for his squad in the future.
There are a handful of teenagers’ names being tossed around:
A razor-sharp finesse pivot with off-the-charts vision and a predator’s mindset, Keller’s now part of a short but elite list of talented NTDP’ers who crushed the competition before moving on to face tougher challenges. Not that it will matter to Keller, who this season centered the top line and was Team USA’s top player at every international event he participated in. He’s a fiery competitor who refuses to take a shift off and his nonstop motor allows him to perform at a high level regardless of how long his shifts are.
—Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
The 5-11, 189-pound forward is committed to the University of North Dakota for 2016-17. A left-shot forward, he had 42 goals, 62 assists, 104 points, 14 power-play goals and seven game-winning goals in 48 games. He also led Canada with six goals and 15 points in seven games at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, and was named the tournament’s best forward.
—Mike Morreale, NHL.com
Ultimately, I see New Jersey going defense here. Adam Larsson has developed a lot slower than expected. And the Devils have used their last three first round selections on forwards. The opportunity presents itself for them to add a real quality defensive prospect and I don’t think they can pass that up. New Jersey’s powerplay was actually pretty good this year, but moving forward, I don’t see any of their young defenders possessing the offensive potential that Sergachev does. His ability to gain entry to the offensive zone would be a major asset.
—Brock Otten, OHL Prospects
With big brother William already pushing his way into the NHL thanks to his undeniable skill level, Devils GM Ray Shero takes a first round flier on the offensively explosive, 6-foot, 172-pound younger brother in Alexander. Nylander, like his brother, is probably a couple of years away with the similar slight build shared by the family including longtime NHLer father Michael, but he would give the Devils offense on a roster that’s crying out for more playmakers right now.
—Joe Haggerty, CSN NE
The Devs have eight unrestricted free agents, with Patrik Elias and Tuomo Ruutu freeing up nearly nine million dollars, per Hockey Buzz.
Here is some dirt:
Elias ‘desperately’ wants to play one more season in New Jersey, NJ.com reports. Elias’ agent, Allan Walsh, said that Elias will either accept a one year deal, or go into retirement.
William Agathis of Today’s Slapshot speculates that Kyle Palmieri will garner a deal with an AAV between $4.5 and $5.25 million over a four to six season period. He writes that they should attempt to re-sign their star.
The Florida Panthers sent Marc Savard and a 2018 second round pick to the Devs for Graham Black and Paul Thompson. Savard hasn’t competed since since the 2010-11 season.