As the National Hockey League trade deadline approaches on April 3 at 3:00, the New Jersey Devils are certainly in the market for a scorer. Luckily, they have a surplus of defense-men that they should be willing to trade away. The most likely candidate to be traded is Henrik Tallinder, who is in his eleventh NHL season.
Tallinder has struggled this year with the Devils and has only played in 14 of the team’s 26 games. Although currently on injured reserve after suffering an injury during warm-ups prior to last Thursday’s match-up against his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, Tallinder has been a healthy scratch in multiple games because of poor play.
He netted his lone goal of the season against the New York Islanders back on January 31, and has also collected two assists on the season.
Aside from Henrik Tallinder, the Devils have seven other defense-men currently on their roster. Marek Zidlicky, Adam Larsson, Andy Greene, Peter Harrold, Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, and Mark Fayne are all ahead of Tallinder on my Devils depth chart. If this was last year I would certainly have Matt Taormina ahead of Tallinder also. Tallinder’s age is catching up to him, and his body is starting to break down.
Although he does not seem to be a major asset to the Devils right now, he was one of the most valuable players for the Devils during the past two seasons. He showed Mark Fayne the ropes, and today Fayne is continuing to develop as a consistent NHL defense-man. Tallinder also mentored Tyler Meyers while with the Sabres.
So Who is a Viable Trading Partner for the New Jersey Devils?
Here are some teams that would benefit from having a veteran defensive leader on and off the ice, and that have offensive talent that would be of interest to the Devils.
Tampa Bay Lightning- The Lightning, 13th in the Eastern Conference at 10-14-1, seem to be the most suitable option for both parties involved. The Bolts are second in the league, averaging 3.40 goals per game, but are 27th with a 3.12 goals against average. Tampa seems to have plenty of defensive leadership in Sami Salo, Mattias Ohlund, Eric Brewer, and Marc-Andre Bergeron, but I think the defensive stats speak for themselves. The Bolts need a change on defense. Perhaps, Tallinder is the man for them.
In terms of who the Devils would be interested in acquiring, I would say Alex Killorn and Nate Thompson would intrigue them. Both players are having decent seasons with just under ten points thus far. I doubt the Devils would bite for one of these players, but if Tallinder isn’t going to be playing much anyway, you never know. I’ll let the general managers figure that one out!
Edmonton Oilers- The Oilers, 14th in the Western Conference at 9-11-5, might also be a viable trading partner. The young Edmonton team is struggling and in need of any type of spark. They are 25th in offensive production, averaging 2.32 goals per game, and 22nd in defense with a 2.96 goals against average. Unlike the Lightning, the Oilers only have one defense-men on their active roster who is older than 30. Andy Sutton, who is in his sixteenth season, has a difficult task and he has not been able to do the job alone thus far.
As far as viable Oilers offensive players the Devils would be interested in, I would say Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth. I doubt the Oilers would give these players up, because they are two of Edmonton’s top eight scorers this season. If the Oilers were willing to, I think that they would be good fits in Newark. Again I’ll leave it to the front offices of both teams.
Henrik Tallinder’s days in New Jersey might be numbered, and if they are, I think he’ll end up in Edmonton or Tampa Bay. I know these teams would love some veteran leadership on defense; but do they want a struggling veteran defense-man who is starting to break down? That, I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to send in my application for general manager.