New Jersey Devils Trade Partners: Dealing With Toronto


The end of an era. If you did not know by now or live under a rock, Lou Lamoriello’s iconic career with the New Jersey Devils came to an end after nearly three decades. He is now gone and working for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who like the Devils, are in a rebuilding phase.

When an executive moves to a new team, he often begins his tenure by bringing in people that he is familiar with. This could range from scouting personnel, old coaches, and active players from his former team. That being said, with Lamoriello now in Toronto, could the Devils and Maple Leafs be potential trade partners?

With the release of Dainius Zubrus last week, Devils general manager Ray Shero again stressed the need of bringing in another forward, whether it is via trade or a free agent signing. The free agent crop is thin, with Brad Boyes and Jiri Tlusty being some of the top remaining forwards on the market. While these two could provide some scoring help, Shero has expressed a desire for the Devils to be a younger team so a trade seems more likely.

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With that being said, the Devils and Maple Leafs could match up as trade partners, given the strong connection with Lamoriello, and the desire for both teams to rebuild. Though he has never been fond of the word during his time in New Jersey, Lou will have to accept that the Maple Leafs are in need of a rebuild after the disastrous tenure of their old front office.

After dealing away Phil Kessel last month, the new Maples Leafs front office expressed a desire to start over and who better to start over with than the man who turned the Devils from a “Mickey Mouse organization,” to a three-time Stanley Cup champion? Lamoriello will have a clean slate and a new project to begin as he did back in 1987.

The big difference between 1987 and now is that Lou Lamoriello is now an established and well-respected hockey executive who has familiar ties around the league, especially with his former team. These connections could make a rebuild much easier and trade with the Devils seem more likely.

With the exception of this past draft class, Kyle Palmieri, and John Moore, every player on the New Jersey Devils roster was brought in by Lou Lamoriello, whether it was through the draft, a trade, or free agency. You have to believe that Lamoriello is still fond of some of those players and has entertained the thought of having them on the Maple Leafs.

Late July and the month of August are quiet in the NHL. There are not many moves being made and it is a waiting period until training camp begins. However, deals can always be made during training camp and right before the season starts, as the New York Islanders showed us in 2014 with the acquisitions of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.

It is quite possible that Devils could make a deal sometime before the season, especially given the fact that they still have a logjam of talented young defensemen. Defensemen that were all drafted by Lou Lamoriello. Defensemen that he is fond of.

Adam Larsson, Andy Greene, John Moore, and likely Damon Severson are not going anywhere as they will be an important part of the Devils defensive group going forward. However, guys like Eric Gelinas, Jonathon Merrill, Steven Santini, and others could be players that the Devils will look to move for a young talented forward.

Speaking of young talented forwards, the Maple Leafs have a few of those, with Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk, and last year’s top draft pick William Nylander being the cream of the crop. These three may never be moved at all, but Lamoriello has always preferred guys that will play into his style of hockey, along with the style of head coach Mike Babcock.

Could perennial trade rumor victim Nazem Kadri actually be on the move? Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

If Lamoriello feels that certain guys will not fit the system, he could look to deal them for people who will. Offensive talents like van Riemsdyk and Kadri would be more than welcomed into head coach John Hynes’ system, along with the Devils fan base. The only thing stopping any potential deal now is the price tag for these players.

Players of van Riemsdyk and Kadri’s caliber will not come cheap and it does not look like Lou Lamoriello will give a discount to his former team. A package of draft picks, one or two of the Devils talented defensemen, and a forward prospect such as Reid Boucher could work, but still might not be enough. Still nothing is ever impossible.

Ultimately, while a trade with Toronto could happen for the Devils, it is unlikely due to the latter’s farm system not possessing the top prospects to get the deal done. It is unlikely that Ray Shero would part with a likely top five draft pick for next year’s draft when he could use it to draft another talented forward prospect.

The Lou Lamoriello connection will always linger, so it is worth keeping an eye on these two teams until the season begins. As stated before, Lou may want to bring in one or more of his former players from his tenure in New Jersey. Do you think that the Devils and Maple Leafs could match up as trade partners? Give your thoughts in the comments section below.

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