The New York Rangers send Michael Grabner to the New Jersey Devils for a pick and prospect. Here is everything you need to know about the Devils newest addition as they seemingly go all-in towards the playoffs.
On Thursday night, the New Jersey Devils acquired Michael Grabner from the New York Rangers in exchange for a second-round pick and Yegor Rykov.
Not only is this the first time in franchise history a trade with the Rangers has occurred (previously happened once while the organization was the Colorado Rockies), but the Grabner acuisition signals this team is all-in as their march towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues.
Who is Michael Grabner?
Grabner is a speedy forward with great hands and a nose for the net. The Devils needed immediate help in their top-nine and Grabner is just the guy. This season Grabner has 25 goals and six assists. The most important stat about Grabner is that he is a pretty good five-on-five player. Of his 25 goals, 24 of them have come even strength. The other one came shorthanded.
Another thing that the Devils are getting in Grabner is a good penalty killer. His speed is a tremendous asset to be able to kill off penalties, so a strength for the Devils this season has become even stronger.
Take a look at the speed that Grabner shows as he buries a breakaway goal against the Penguins:
So, yeah, @grabs40 is ridiculously fast. pic.twitter.com/9u6IBNJLCK
— NHL (@NHL) January 15, 2018
Where does Grabner fit in with the Devils?
Before Thursday night’s game, the Devils lineup looked like this.
#NJDevils warmup that didn't settle the 12/6 – 11/7 debate:
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) February 22, 2018
(The only change to this lineup was the Devils went with seven d-men and Blake Pietila was scratched.)
This move gives the Devils some more flexibility on the right side so the lines can shift if need be. Grabner can basically fit on any wing but don’t expect him to play with Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri.
If the Devils shift Stefan Noesen down to the fourth line, and pencil Grabner in with Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman that line becomes a hell of a lot more dangerous.
What does this mean going forward?
Ray Shero is absolutely going for it. Meaning the playoffs, it is still unlikely that the Devils will make a Stanley Cup run but the East is so wide open anything is possible.
As for the deal they made today, they didn’t mortgage the future, and he got an asset that will help the Devils reach the postseason for the first time in five years. It will be interesting to see if the Devils are going to make any other moves before the deadline. (See some more potential players the Devils can go after here.)
It is rather unlikely that the Devils are going to make another huge splash before this deadline, but if the price is right Shero has to pull the trigger.
News and notes for tomorrow
Grabner is flying home from Montreal with the Rangers and it is unclear whether or not he will be at practice with New Jersey tomorrow.
That must wait for practice tomorrow.
But it'll be like this: Wow, it's fantastic we can add a player of this caliber to our lineup without losing anybody currently in our lineup. Shows us management really believes we can make the playoffs. Now it's our job to prove Ray right. https://t.co/EF9CIsibe2
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) February 23, 2018
We will also wait and see the thoughts of the players and coaches after the Devils practice tomorrow.