Another Playoff Miss Won’t Be a Complete Disaster for the Devils

I get it, you are sick of losing. I am like that too. Still, do we think the playoffs are a real goal for the franchise this season, or do we have a less lofty goal of playing a competitive game one step ahead enough to satisfy Devil fans for this upcoming season? , I don’t know if I can answer that question for myself yet, so I’m curious what the rest of you think. On the one hand, after 7 years of rebuilding, including a false start in the middle of everything, it’s reasonable to expect that by now the devils will be out of this mess or (more) turning heads. The Devils, on the other hand, are coming off a season where they finished with the fifth-worst overall score in the entire league, mostly due to poor goalscorers, and their biggest move in the nets was to trade for a Washington boy. , another team that had goals as one of their major weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong, I actually think Fitzgerald’s moves in the nets are perfectly reasonable given what all were available, but it’s not like the opposing coaches and forwards are waking up to the night’s game-plan to see how they Vitek Vanisek and Mackenzie Blackwood will lose to the tandem.

But, let’s just say we believe that the Devils have put together a capable power play with new assistant Andrew Burnett in charge, and that the goalscorers return to mean, and that the Devils suffer terrible injury fate. Not there. Is that enough to compete with other teams in Metro or for a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference? Washington, NYI and Boston may be unsafe, but I find them hard to count completely. And while I would favorably place the young talents of the Devils (especially if you count Holtz, L. Hughes, and Nemec) over the long term of Detroit, Ottawa, Columbus, and Buffalo, I don’t believe they’re any more than Those teams in the next season are even better. So while I’m more optimistic than any oddsmaker there will be a Devils playoff prospect this coming season, the reality is we’re more likely not to be back here in May than just one last lucky bounce of lottery balls. expect. ,

The good news is that if the Devils are knocked out of the playoffs again, they will be well placed by the next trade deadline. With a plethora of contracts expiring, the Devils should be able to get back some cool assets that they can either use to stock a potential wardrobe (you can’t have very good players on ELC) or A good, young roster player to add to the package in another trade.

A Quick Overview of Devils cap friendly The page shows that the team has 1 1 12 roster players with contracts expiring at the end of the 2022–23 season. Of these 12 contracts, 8 are for forwards, 2 are for defensemen, and the remaining 2 are for goaltenders Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier. Obviously, most of these players will not be traded. Whether due to a lack of interest, a salary/cap hit, the Devils trying to retain said player, or simply because you can’t trade half of your NHL roster, most of these players will probably have their current position in New Jersey. will terminate the contract. But, there are also a good number of players who should attract interest from other clubs when the Devils’ season tube goes down.

The rounding position is probably the easiest to solve. Bernier’s trade value depends on whether he is actually recovering and actually performing at some point this season. Still, a team may need the Devils to eat up some cap hits, as 4+ million is a lot who will likely have a backup goalie. All of this is to say that Bernier is probably not going anywhere. That means the Devils may have had 3 goals at some point, but considering about 8 of those goals last year, that’s probably not such a bad thing. Likewise, Blackwood would have to be healthy to actually be interested in doing business for him. And like Bernier, I think Blackwood is unlikely to actually be traded, even if it looked like things were headed in that direction last season. If Blackwood has a bounce back season, the Devils won’t be in a position to trade him. If he’s on foot or worse, I doubt he’ll attract much interest.

The blue line is the most interesting position in my mind. This is where the Devils can really get some value back for their expiring players. Ryan Graves plays the type of genre that GM is still, somehow, more than. Don’t get me wrong, Graves is a solid player and coming off a season where he was above 50% shot share and xGF% (via) natural static) and had a GAR value of 4.7 and an xGAR value of 4.8 (via GAR and xGAR development of hockey) I don’t think it has anything to do with why other GMs want him. All of this is to say that while Graves has great real value as a hockey player, if he has another good season, he will probably be worth even more than that because the GMs are biased and treat Graves as a grown man. inherently valuable. With a quality season out of the grave, the Devils could probably at least get back what they had left to get the player. Whether they will choose to go in that direction is another matter. The left side of the defense is not as stacked as the right side. Luke Hughes may be on the way, but there’s no guarantee he’ll come in and be ready for a top-4 minute right away. And even if he is, he is a very different player from Graves. I could see the Devils wanting to have GM graves in the fold. This brings us to Severson. since gerard recently covered this topic, I won’t go into depth here. But suffice it to say that unless the Devils are willing to defy humility, Severson is probably the odd person out, given his age, the contracts he wants, and the Devils’ recent moves on the blue-line. If the Devils shake him off, I’d guess he’ll go for a little less than he deserves. While Severson has the size of NHL teams, and does not shy away from physical sports, it is not a hallmark of his sport. It seems to me so, the combination of a lack of elite production and those major brain farts he may be prone to making a few times a season makes him go down what he should.

Finally, we come forward. Before I get into this, let’s understand that most of this was written before Bratt’s new contract. Since any competent GM would avoid arbitration with one of their best young players, you know, offering a long-term deal at a really reasonable price, I fully expect this situation to be resolved before Wednesday. Was. Luckily, he didn’t let it make it to contract court, but still decided to get Cain down the road in a year. I still worry that Fitzgerald strongly underestimates his best winger and we either end up looking at the player for much less than he deserves over the next 12 months or we will have to do it all over again next summer and Brat Will force a way to get UFA status with another 1-year deal. Interlude finished.

I will divide this group into two categories. First, look at the other four forwards set to become the RFA in 2023. These are as follows: Sharangovich, Boquist, MacLeod and Bastian. We should expect the Devils to retain 3 of these players. McLeod’s situation is like another dark cloud hovering over everything and without downplaying the seriousness of the alleged Hockey Canada stuff, it’s questionable whether McLeod is really a roster spot based on his on-ice performance last season. entitled or not. I don’t think McLeod is settled, but I also don’t expect him to get another contract from New Jersey. For the other three, this season will tell what their futures hold. Bastian is a solid fourth-row player, and his xDef GAR (again via Evolving Hockey), was second only to Siegenthaler on the team. He is still far from irreplaceable and if any other team really wants to trade him for him, I don’t think the Devils are completely opposed to such a move. Boqvist and Sharangovich are more wild-cards to me. Sharangovich fits in well with Hughes and his output in his first two seasons indicates he is an excellent goal-scoring winger. However, if the Devils GM underestimates him the way he has with other late-round scoring wingers, the team may choose to deal him for Mason Geertsson 2.0 or something. In the end, that leaves Boqvist, which probably has the most stakes in what I’ll cover today. He has not yet established himself as a full-time NHLer, and it is not entirely clear what his role on the team will be next. Is that the center of the future third row? A top-6 winger? A breakout season plus an injury or poor performance by another skater could put him in the top-6, or he could be in and out of the line-up as in the previous season. Both are realistic scenarios, but either way, if Boquist is dealt with, I think it will either be a ‘change of scenery’ type of move or part of a bigger business.

That leaves three 2023 UFAs on the Devil’s payroll this season. Tomas Tater has a history of producing at a top-6 level and the slight jump from last season has made him a valuable commodity. However, his hat hit, and the fact that he has bounced as much as he is despite his production and built-in number, I think he will need a lot of season to gain a lot of time frame interest. Holla is another story. Teams are always on the lookout for centres, especially when they are strong in face-to-face circles. Combine that with a fairly reasonable cap hit, and I think Huala can get a third rounder or asset of equal value with a strong season. That leaves Andreas Johnson. Johnson has been mostly disappointing during his tenure in New Jersey. In this case, I think a trade is very plausible, but in a more cap dump sense than a competitor’s goal of bolstering their line-up for the playoffs.

Ultimately, I hope we don’t have to think about this stuff anytime in the near future. That the Devils will pull off the trick reliably and never look back. Any trade the Devils make is to either make room for their young talent or shore up an area of ​​weakness for their own playoff run. Still, I think I’ll need to see it to believe the point. Do you think my assessment of the Devils 2022-23 free agents is correct, or have I left an impression with someone? If the Devils sell on the time frame who do you think gets transferred and who stays? Leave your comment below and thanks for reading.

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