Earlier today, the New Jersey Devils officially claimed defenseman Alexander Urbom from the Washington Capitals. Urbom returns after being claimed by the Capitals on October 3 from the Devils. In his three months further south, Urbom played 20 games at the NHL level, scoring one goal and adding an assist.
Urbom has been assigned to Albany thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Under the agreement, a team who loses a player after placing him on waivers and claims the same player at another time can assign him to the AHL if they are the only team to put a claim in on the player.
While fans may be excited about Urbom coming back or questioning why Eric Gelinas hasn’t been in the lineup recently, the real question is what do you do with ten NHL ready defenseman? Yes, the Devils have ten defensemen in the organization that have seen more than a few games at the NHL level.
In addition to Urbom who is on the AHL roster, the following nine defensemen are on the NHL roster: Mark Fayne, Eric Gelinas, Andy Greene, Peter Harrold, Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, and Marek Zidlicky. Harrold and Larsson are on injured reserve, but both have resumed skating. Larsson is much closer to seeing game action than Harrold.
As one can see, the Devils are going to have a roster log jam in the very near future. So what do they do? Well, they could try to win the Calder Cup with one of the strongest AHL back lines in Albany. However, I don’t suspect that’s the case. A trade must be coming. We all know that Lou Lamoriello is one of the most secretive men in sports, but maybe I’ve got him this time.
If Lou is thinking like me, which he probably isn’t, then he is most likely trying to acquire a scorer in exchange for a defenseman with draft picks possibly involved on both sides. After all, the Devils are 26th in scoring in the league, and the season is more than half over. I would put the numbers at at least 15 goals or 25 points. Here are my thoughts on the 10 Devils’ defensemen and who the Devils could be looking at to acquire to boost their offense.
NJ Devils Defense
Not Going Anywhere
-Andy Greene (Best defenseman on both sides of the puck, assistant captain, 7 G 15 AST)
-Marek Zidlicky (Best offensive defenseman on the roster, veteran, 7 G 16 AST)
Probably Not Going Anywhere
-Bryce Salvador (Solid defenseman, captain; however, seems extra slow since returning from injury)
-Anton Volchenkov (Strictly a defensive defenseman, but a very good one at that; teams would love to have him because he’ll literally sacrifice his body to keep the puck out of the net, so if the deal is right…)
-Jon Merrill (Rookie who appears to have found his game on the defensive side of the ice, lot of potential still especially on offense; others would take a chance for sure)
For the Right Price
-Eric Gelinas (Rookie: 4 G 12 AST in 33 games, Streaky offensive player and still lacking a true defensive component to his game, still young enough where a change to forward is possible)
-Adam Larsson (3rd year player, injury plagued, not really living up to a 4th overall pick, could attempt to get something while he still has value)
Fit to Trade
-Mark Fayne (Consistent NHL player, too many lapses and costly mistakes in my eyes though)
-Peter Harrold (Good 3rd pair defenseman, but due to numbers in organization, he almost provides too much depth)
-Alexander Urbom (Since he was just re-claimed, I can’t imagine he’ll be traded, but then again I’m not sure why he was acquired)
Who’s Out There? (Just a Few)
-Matt Moulson, Buffalo Sabres- He wasn’t too pleased with being dealt by the Islanders and the Sabres will definitely be sellers barring an improbable streak over the next few weeks; 14 G 13 AST
-Olli Jokinen, Winnipeg Jets- Reports indicate that Jokinen is on the trading block and although 35 years old he is having quite the year; 11 G 17 AST
-Mike Cammalleri, Calgary Flames- With the Flames out of it and 28th in goals allowed in the NHL, it would behoove them to acquire some young defensemen; 13 G 8 AST
-Daniel Briere, Montreal Canadiens- Briere has expressed his frustrations verbally and has only dressed for 31 games this year. Remember, there was some talk in the offseason that he would land with the Devils; 7 G 6 AST
For now, that is all. The Devils need to find a way to start scoring some goals. This may be one of the ways. We shall see.
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