Trade Deadline Preview: New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils: 27-31-4, 58 pts, 13th in East, 4th in Atlantic
Status: Sellers, or should be anyways
Had the Devils begun their recent surge a few weeks earlier, they could be in the position to make a serious playoff push. However, with five teams currently sitting between them and a playoff berth, it’s highly unlikely that the Devils will be able to climb their way out of the hole they dug themselves early on in the season. That said, it remains to be seen whether the Devils consider themselves buyers or sellers this trade deadline. A 9-1-0 record in your last ten games when you’re mired in the basement of the league can make things very difficult for any GM, but Lou Lamoriello is certainly up to any challenge.
When Jamie Langenbrunner was dealt to the Stars early in the season, it looked as if the Devils might be cutting bait on the season and looking to build for next season already, but with their recent success, it might not be that cut and dry. They will certainly have to start looking for a goalie to replace Martin Brodeur, whose age has never been quite as evident as it has been this season. Centers Travis Zajac and Jason Arnott were at the center of numerous trade rumors earlier in the year, and while the buzz around Zajac has faded as the Devils rose out of the bottom of the East, Arnott’s name is still being bandied about.
David Clarkson could be someone that other teams would target, given his unique blend of scoring and toughness, but if anyone is to be moved, it will likely be Arnott. A veteran center with plenty of playoff experience, a Cup ring and a contract that expires this season, he could be a perfect fit for a team like Washington. Injured forward Zach Parise’s entry level contract is up this season, as well, and if the rumors were true that he was very unhappy with the way Langenbrunner’s situation was handled, the Devils may be forced to find him a new home, especially given the fact that they have over $12.6 million in cap space tied up in Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias alone.
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