New Jersey Devils Trade Partners: Dealing with San Jose


These past few weeks on the road have been amazing. I have journeyed to the cities of Toronto, Winnipeg, Columbus, and St. Louis, wondering if the teams on these stops would match up as trade partners for the New Jersey Devils. Before I head back to New Jersey, I have one more stop to make on the west coast in San Jose, California.

During this past season, the Devils cut ties with former head coach Peter DeBoer. After leading New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first season with the team, the rest of his tenure was underwhelming. This could be attributed to loss of superstar forwards, but the blame will always fall on the coach, no matter what.

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After being fired by the Devils, it did not take DeBoer long to find work again. This offseason, he was hired by the San Jose Sharks to replace their former head coach Todd McLellan. Though he has left Newark, DeBoer still has a connection with his former team, and it could lead to a deal down the road between the Devils and Sharks.

After a tumultuous defeat in the Stanley Cup playoffs at the hands of the rival Los Angeles Kings in 2014, the Sharks took a step back last season. Though their roster still featured some talented players, their performance in the 2014-2015 regular season was not good enough to get them back into the postseason.

It seemed as if San Jose never fully recovered from that devastating defeat against the Kings in the 2014 NHL Playoffs. There were constant rumblings about whether or not now-former coach Todd McLellan and general manager Doug Wilson would lose their jobs after years of disappointments and early playoff exits.

Before the season, Joe Thornton was stripped of his captaincy and the position was vacant throughout the year. The questions of leadership both on and off the ice appeared to play a big hand in the Sharks missing the playoffs.

Needless to say, Peter DeBoer appears to have his work cut out for him in San Jose. However, Doug Wilson did a nice job in upgrading the roster this offseason to make that work easier. These upgrades include the forward grinder Joel Ward, defenseman Paul Martin, and goaltender Martin Jones.

DeBoer still has a talented forward group that includes Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture, and defense which includes Martin, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Justin Braun. Jones will likely be the starter in net, but Alex Stalock has been a solid netminder in his own right.

With this roster, San Jose looks like a team that can and will contend in the Western Conference again. With the regular season looming, the Sharks could look to make a deal to solidify their team. If that happens, could the Devils be a team they call?

As we have heard time and time again, Ray Shero is looking to make the Devils’ roster younger, so it is unlikely that Thornton or Marleau will be wearing red and black next year. Pavelski and Couture are also unlikely given that they are core members of the Sharks forward group. If the Devils want a veteran in his prime to help the rebuild, they should ask about hybrid player Brent Burns.

I know what you are thinking, why would San Jose ever trade Brent Burns? They may not, but out of everyone on the Sharks roster he makes the most sense for New Jersey. Burns, 30, is a big, skilled player who has proven that he is capable of playing both forward and defense. On the Devils, he would likely play the former, re-staking his post on the right wing.

Brent Burns would provide the Devils with a much needed scoring power forward. Given the fact that he has been a defenseman in his career, he would be an excellent two-way player who can play in all situations. This is includes the penalty kill and the powerplay, which he could quarterback for New Jersey.

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A player that could benefit from playing with Brent Burns is Devils defenseman Eric Gelinaswho used to play forward and has struggled with his defensive game since he has been in the NHL. A hybrid player like Burns could mentor Gelinas to play better in the defensive zone.

Burns has two more years on his contract, which means that Ray Shero would not have to worry about re-signing him right away. The negative here is that it only increases his trade value for San Jose. Given his contract and his versatility as a player, what would it take to acquire Burns from the Sharks?

Devils fans will hate me for this, but Damon Severson would likely be the centerpiece in a deal for Brent Burns. Peter DeBoer has always been a big fan of Severson’s, contrary to his alleged dislike and mishandling of both Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas. Sacrifices must be made in an effort to build a contending roster.

While Doug Wilson and Ray Shero ultimately have the final say on a trade between the two teams, a deal of Damon Severson, Reece Scarlett, a forward prospect, and a second round draft pick could get a deal done for Brent Burns. This may seem like a lot to give up, but a player of Burns’ talent would be worth it.

Though Brent Burns would make a great addition to the Devils roster, a deal for him seems unlikely. The Sharks want to contend again this season, so they would likely want to keep their star players. Ray Shero would probably not want to part with all of that young talent for Burns, especially Damon Severson.

While it always remains to be seen if a deal will occur between two teams, the Devils and Sharks do not seem to match up as trade partners. In fact, out of all the stops on my tour, this one seems to have the least amount of potential for a trade, given the Sharks potential contender status this season. However, anything is possible.

This concludes my New Jersey Devils trade partners tour. What do you think about the Devils and the Sharks as trade partners? Do you see a match here that I do not? Who would be your player of choice to acquire from San Jose? As always, feel free to give your thoughts in the comments section below.

Next: New Jersey Devils Trade Partners: Dealing with St. Louis

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