New Jersey Devils: Devils should prepare make a draft day trade

New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils are having a terrible season that has resulted in being able to acquire a load of draft picks, but for a team who shouldn’t be struggling as much as they are, they don’t need a lot of picks.

The New Jersey Devils are not a very good hockey team. You could not even know a lick about them and know that based on just simply reading the standings. They sit in the bottom three of the Eastern Conference, just three points better than the re-building Red Wings and just seven points above the Senators, who are a just a mess.

While, like I have noted in the past, everything that could have gone wrong this season has, the Devils just simply are not that terrible. The Devs’ free-fall down the standings this season is more due to circumstance, like the Taylor Hall injury and a massive goalie fall-off. The Devils are not in the spot they are in due to the direction the franchise wants to go.

Yes, the Devils probably shouldn’t have made the playoffs last season, having the MVP on your team will do that. However, they still did and they still have more talent than what is being shown.

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Right now, the Devils are in full-draft mode. They are just going to grind through the season as best as they can. They are seven points in the clear of last but a whopping 19 out of the playoffs. Where they are now is likely to be where they finish.

The Devils are so injury ridden, and also so hoping the season was over sooner rather than later, that the Devils (as of March 3) just had a fourth line of Blake PietilaKevin RooneyEgor Yakovlev. Pietila has played in 29 NHL games, Kevin Rooney has played in 32 NHL games, and Yakovlev has played in just 18, all this season.

What does all of this mean? This means that youth is not a problem for the Devils. A lot of their team is getting NHL experience just based on circumstance alone but are still playing and these are all players who could find their way onto the Devils in the near future. In addition to that, Michael McLeod is getting reps, he is perhaps one to be the most excited about.

So, that leads me to my next point. The Devils are having an off-year in terms of how much they are struggling and how little John Hynes is being forced to work with.

The Devils, thanks in part to the previously mentioned Hall injury, Kyle Palmieri injury, Miles Wood injury, trading Kinkaid who is an upcoming free-agent, the Cory Schneider injury, the Sami Vatanen injury which he just came back from, all add up to the Devils being, well bad.

By this happening, they were able to be non-contenders and sell at the deadline. Out were Marcus Joahansson, Brian Boyle, and Kinkaid and in were draft picks. Draft picks that the Devils now have 10 of.

The issue, rather dilemma, with that is that the Devils don’t need 10. They will have their first rounder which will be a lottery pick, a nice one at that, and then a bundle in the later rounds. That is surely great for a team in a full on re-build, but not for the Devils who do have a core together.

So, that is why I propose they should make a trade. The Devils aren’t multiple pieces away. Just get Taylor Hall some help, maybe help get more capable wingers around Nico Hischier. and let these young guys keep developing until one of them stands out. Also. Have Mackenzie Blackwood keep doing his thing, and that is a nice little core.

While having “too many picks” is not a real problem, it could become inefficient towards winning. Even Devils General Manager Ray Shero noted that the possibilities are endless.

Here is exactly what he said to Amanda Stein via

"“Those are draft picks, whether you use them on players to draft or in potential trades like we’ve done in the past, it is difficult to say right now. But you can’t improve yourself through those avenues without draft picks, whether they are used at the entry draft or in trades. We’ll see what transpires over the next few months, but we are in a better position now to do that.”"

That quote is just about the most generic quote ever said. You would expect every GM to say something like that. All doors and avenues should always be open. However, the Devils are in a rare situation where they actually could do just about anything.

The Devils, while still closer than most teams, could decide to just send it into a re-build. With 10 picks, that could be expedited immensely.

However, I think their best bet is to make a trade. Like what he said, use the picks or “assets” as trade bait and either move up higher and go for quality over quantity, or get help for the younger, talented core already in place.

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Either way, and interpret what Shero said however you want, the Devils are a wild-card team in terms of what they will do. They are in purgatory right now. Fresh off the playoffs, but also basically bottom feeders. But just like how they were major players on the days leading up to the deadline, the New Jersey Devils will be players come the NHL Draft in June. They just have too many options to not explore them.