The New Jersey Devils have limited remaining salary cap flexibility this summer, but will be in the future

with New Jersey Devils After signing Jesper Bratt to a $5.45 million contract yesterday for a year, the team sits with just over $3.2 million in the salary cap space and Miles Wood’s arbitrage still pending. This Devils is the closest to the cap ceiling in years, even before Wood signs or goes to mediate, and it gives the feeling that the team is ready to turn a corner. However, there may be some concern about the team spending so much and exhausting its cap flexibility with a roster that has proven to be nothing and hasn’t come close to the playoffs in a few years.

In fact, if you take a look at Devils page on CapFriendly, things look a little tight this season, especially if an arbiter somehow awards Wood more than $3.2 million. The good news for the off-season is that teams can exceed the cap by 10%, which shouldn’t come close to doing the Devils. There is more good news for the upcoming season; If the Devils spend on the cap, once they get Jonathan Bernier into long-time injured reserve, they’ll get some relief, allowing them to still have a full roster. So while it’s going to be close for the Devils for quite some time, they’ll be in line with the hat to open the night and beyond.

Now if there was anyone who had concerns about hats for the Devils, it would be brought down in part by the Brat deal that is mentioned at the beginning of the article. The Devils want to keep Bratt longer, and with him returning to restricted free agency with arbitration rights next summer, he may be asking for an additional raise, especially if he repeats his numbers from last season (or more than that). We also have an expansion for Jonas Siegenthaler next season, adding to his cap hit by about $2.3 million. Then there is the matter of other young RFAs such as Yegor Sharangovich (likely), Jesper Boquist, Mackenzie Blackwood (both likely), Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian (both less likely), who may be looking for a massive increase. Can the Devil still afford to keep this group together, especially if they do well this season and exceed expectations?

The short answer is yes; The long answer is also yes, but with some factors that are obvious, and others that may be less. The first thing to address here is that the contracts of Jack Hughes and Nico Hisier are going to help the team in the long run, especially if both continue to grow in last season’s games. Jack and Nico currently account for 18.5% of the team’s cap and this percentage is going to decrease gradually over the next five seasons as at least small caps are expected to increase as well as the fact that both share the same contract. But will be

The second point that is going to save the Devils some money is to cut loose underperforming UFAs, and replace them with internal candidates. The departure of Tomas Tatar and Andreas Johnson would save the Devils $7.9 million; This frees up a spot on the wing for a player in an organization like Alex Holtz (one on ELC) and try to earn a full-time NHL spot. The defense would see that Ryan Graves, or Damon Severson, or both would possibly move on, giving the Devils either $3.167 million, $4.167 million or their total to use $7.334 million for new contracts for the aforementioned RFAs. Additionally, perhaps it allows Nikita Okhotyuk, Kevin Behl or perhaps even Simon Nemek to earn a full-time spot on the Blue Line. If the Devils decide to pull the plug on the Blackwood experiment, it’s even more cap free to use elsewhere or on a replacement.

The third and final point here is that there may be players who are surprised and need the same move. Maybe Fabian Zetterlund will prove he deserves a full-time NHL spot at this upcoming training camp. While he hasn’t signed a new deal yet, he is an RFA without arbitration, so I don’t see a big deal getting in his way. Maybe he makes the team, or maybe someone like Nolan Foote gets called in because of an injury, and shows he can be a good, cost-effective contributor. Eric may not work for the Holla Devils and be let into free agency next summer; Perhaps the team even trades him or another player to become UFA on the deadline. The Devils don’t really have any “bad” contracts, which means that even if they have to transfer players or make other raises, they aren’t backed into a corner where fans are about to lose assets for nothing. No need to be concerned in, or worse yet, trading assets for nothing to get out of a bad deal.

The Devils have recently been awarded a few more long-term contracts, but they have still established themselves to surround their core with the talent needed to make the team relevant again. They will still have some holes to fill and some decisions to be made next summer, but I think we already know who are some of the names that Devils Red and Black n will play their last game in 2022-23. Expenses have gone up, but that doesn’t mean the Devils have positioned themselves where they’ll soon be packaging their first-round pick to dump a player’s contract for cap space.

Are you as optimistic about the Devil’s Cap situation going forward? Will long-term deals help or hurt them right now when there are several players due to pick up next summer? Do you agree or disagree with the list of players I think the team can/will loose? Leave any and all comments below and as always, thanks for reading!

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