New Jersey Devils Roster: Possible Additions before October


For all 30 NHL teams, September is one of the fastest moving months of the entire season. Teams will have north of 40 skaters at training camp and will somehow need to turn that into 18 forwards and two goalies come opening night on October 7. As we move closer and closer to the waiver period, each team will be looking to move some undesirable contracts and will likewise need to make tough decisions on rosters. With so much competition at forward, could the Devils be looking to make a move of some sort to settle these position battles? In this piece I will make the argument that they should be active on the waiver and trade markets.


Let me preface this by saying that in the past five seasons there have been a combined 21 trades between preseason and the early-October waiver period. Going through the list of possible trades, I think there are only a handful of options that could be on the block: Patrik Elias, Tuomo Ruutu, Stephen Gionta, and Jordin Tootoo.

The former two have untradeable contracts at this point but will start to gain value as the season goes on. The latter two are both carry-overs from the old regime and both could be traded if not waived.


Speaking of waivers, look for the Devils to be hawkish when watching the waiver wire. These Devils are not crippled by so many one-way deals and need to improve their team somehow. Scouring the waiver wire could be the best way to add a quality piece or two prior to the season. There have been times when talented contributors are placed on waivers because of roster space and the Devils should keep their eye on that.


So we talked about the Devils as sellers and waivermonger but what about as buyers? As per General Fanager, there are two teams sitting over the salary cap maximum at the moment: the Detroit Red Wings ($1,314,543 over with roster size of 24) and the Tampa Bay Lightning ($969,598 over with roster size of 23).

Buying from Detroit

Detroit has to remove one player from their roster in the first place (probably C Luke Glendening), which will lower their cap overage to $686,210. That could lead to the team trading away one of their expensive defensemen (they have 7 making over $2 million annually). Based on how many defensemen the Devils currently have, I can’t imagine GM Ray Shero trying to make a deal with Detroit.

Buying from Tampa Bay

Next up are the Prince of Wales trophy recipients, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Indeed, they have a full roster and sit slightly over the cap limit but that payroll includes Mattias Ohlund, the 39-year old defenseman who sits on LTIR, much like Chris Pronger and Ryane Clowe. His cap hit does not count against the salary cap when the season starts, thus there is not much cause for concern in Tampa at the moment.

Buying from Chicago

Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks players Corey Crawford (50) , Andrew Shaw (65) and Jonathan Toews (19) celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Lastly, I wanted to take a look at the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks, who have only 22 players (goalies included) and just $331,540 in cap space per General Fanager. Since Artemi Panarin has to make the team as well (unless they want him to return to the KHL), that’s another $812,500 added to the cap. Chicago only has four players who can be sent down through waivers, F Marko Dano, LW Teuvo Teravainen, LW Artemi Panarin, and D Trevor van Riemsdyk (per Hockey’s Cap).

Dano has been playing on the first line thus far in training camp and has earned rave reviews; Teravainen played half the season in Chicago last year and is supposed to have an increased role this year; Panarin has an out-clause in his contract to return to the KHL if he does not make it in Chicago, while van Riemsdyk was a regular last season, injured his wrist, returned in the playoffs and dressed for the Stanley Cup finals. He’s unlikely to go anywhere after signing a two-year extension to stay in Chi-Town.

Complicating matters is the legal situation surrounding Patrick Kane. Much like the situation with Slava Voynov, it is entirely possible that the League will refuse to relieve the Blackhawks of Kane’s cap hit, meaning that the team will only have 12 forwards (no healthy scratches in case of injury) and will already be in the red in terms of cap space. That’s bad

Enter New Jersey. This is a team that has only 10 forwards under contract that played 10+ games last year in the NHL. They have plenty of young forwards who are waiver eligible but they also have a huge need for talented young forwards. Running through Chicago’s payroll at forward, it is abundantly clear that they will not trade Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov, or Dano, You might as well add recently signed forwards Panarin, Viktor Tikhonov, Marcus Kruger, and Andrew Desjardins.

Who is left? In ascending salary order: Teuvo Teravainen ($832,500), Jeremy Morin ($900,000), Ryan Garbutt ($900,000 [retained salary trade]), Andrew Shaw ($2 million), Bryan Bickell ($4 million), and Patrick Kane ($10.5 million). The first three do not carry enough salary to be worthwhile trade options. Pucks and Pitchforks’ Michael Cambria recently ventured the prospect of trading for Kane.

That leaves Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. Bickell has a modified no-trade clause where he can choose eight teams that are acceptable destinations. I doubt Bickell would OK a move from Chicago to New Jersey. Shaw, on the other hand, is a much more interesting case. A former 20-goal scorer, Shaw is just 24-years old (drafted in the same year as Jacob Josefson and Kyle Palmieri). He spent most of the season centering the third line where he had 15 goals and 26 points. Interestingly, his PDO (a measurement of on-ice shooting percentage and save percentage) – commonly referred to as a metric of luck – was the second lowest among regulars on the Blackhawks. Shaw is due to eclipse those numbers in 2015-16 by a significant amount.

Could New Jersey have what it takes to trade for Shaw? Actually, it would only take a draft pick or two since Chicago is pretty much desperate to make this move. I don’t think a fourth round pick would be considered bad value by either side.

There you have it, the Devils could trade away some of their own inexpensive veterans (Tootoo, Gionta); scour the waiver wire (and find the next Dominic Moore or Rich Peverley); or call up a desperate team like the Chicago Blackhawks and trade for Andrew Shaw. If Ray Shero wants to improve his team one last time before the regular season, any of those three options is a good place to start.

Next: Devils Mailbag: First Edition