With the NHL trade deadline looming, we examine possible moves the New Jersey Devils can execute.
The New Jersey Devils roster, on paper, portrays a team that should be scoring on a higher level than a majority of the league, and certainly on a higher level than they actually perform.
On the contrary, a running theme for Jersey’s team is lack of scoring. Since the end of the quick DeBoer Era, the Devils are embarrassingly incapable of putting the puck in the back of the net. Taylor Hall coming to the aid of Adam Henrique, Kyle Palmieri, and Travis Zajac, should have fixed the issue, but time and time again it is proven it hasn’t.
The Devils played yet another one-goal performance last night, against a mediocre Los Angeles Kings team. Ray Shero, and the rest of the Devils front office have to know there are still pieces missing.
Still being in the race keeps the fun questions fun. Who do the Devils need to improve the scoring? Who the Devils need to improve the defense? And, finally, for the remainder of the season, can the goaltending tandem of Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid keep the Devils in the remaining games?
Starting at the defense, one possible pick-up can be St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk. The 27-year-old defenseman has proven to be an elite defenseman for his entire career with the Blues. Contributing in front of the net, as well as taking shots from the blue line, Shattenkirk can fill some vulnerable slots the Devils need to give attention to.
The next potential move the Devils can make is in the direction of Bruins forward David Krejci. He has helped Boston to a Stanley Cup in 2011, and has been a key member to their continuously strong offense. With an addition like David Krejci, players like Palmieri, Hall, and Henrique would be relieved of a lot of pressure.
Here’s one that just may sound crazy: Jarome Iginla.
He’s old, and he’s good, and he would be a rental. But why not? If the Devils find themselves in a situation where they need to put more scorers on the ice, late in the season, and just within playoff reach, Jarome Iginla would be an awesome pick up. Iginla is on a miserable Colorado Avalanche team, and as a Devil, Iginla can take another crack at the Stanley Cup.
The obvious question now is … Who can they deal away?
As harsh as it may seem, Travis Zajac can be an option. He is a strong forward but his point production over the course of the last few years has been sub-par. He may seem like a staple Devil, having been with the club now for ten years, but Zajac has yet to break the 25-goal barrier.
It seems that he performs much better than that, and he is surely loved by the fans, but Zajac can be an appealing candidate for a team that is trying to move some things around, like the Devils. He may not be the answer for Krejci or Shattenkirk alone, but if you throw the right picks, and prospects in the mix, Zajac can be a key component to a solid deal.
Another player the Devils can deal (no remorse) is Andy Greene.
He’s a good defenseman, but his contribution to the team is minimal. He doesn’t score, he doesn’t assist, and if you put another player in a number six jersey, it would really be hard to tell the difference. He has no decent stats, and has just been that dependable defenseman that really doesn’t showing up on the scoring cards.
Let’s deal him away. Greene and picks for Iginla. The Avalanche would eat that up.
The last player the Devils can give away is Keith Kinkaid.
As scary as that sounds, because he is surely proving to be a solid back up in the event Schneider quickly moves downhill, Kinkaid can be a great player to deal. He has a .925 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average. Those are attractive numbers for a back-up goaltender.
If anyone has any other players (that can contribute to a playoff push that haven’t been mentioned) send them the Devils way. Here is your new goalie.
Optimistically, the Devils are a playoff team. The Devils have won four of their last six, and have slipped a bit in the points difference from the last Wild Card seed over the last week, but the Devils can make it if they play their cards right.
If they add a Shattenkirk, Krejci, or Iginla, who knows what the team can become. It is hard to say what a player that has never played with a group of guys can do, but the Devils are in a good spot to make some risky moves (because they aren’t all too risky). Greene, Zajac, Kinkaid, only contribute so much.