New Jersey Devils Trade Deadline Reactions

Jan 26, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Devante Smith-Pelly (21) reacts after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 26, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Devante Smith-Pelly (21) reacts after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /
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For starters, I’d like to say that at the cost of a sixth round draft pick, the New Jersey Devils should have been all over 24-year old center Brandon Pirri, even with an injured ankle… but that’s neither here nor there.

Let’s shift our focus to some moves the Devils did make:

You had to see this coming, especially with the Devils claiming David Warsofsky off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier today.

From the New Jersey Devils perspective, this move was a small step in Ray Shero cleaning up the mess left behind by former GM Lou Lamoniello. In exchange for the 24-year old Eric Gelinas, the Devils reacquired a 2017 3rd round pick as Lamoniello traded their original pick to the Carolina Hurricanes last year for the aging Tuomo Rutuu in a deal that never should have happened.

It’s obvious that Eric Gelinas wasn’t in the teams’ future plans, and after recording just 14 goals and 54 points with a minus-14 rating in 156 career games in the black and red, the Devils finally parted ways with the 6’4″ defenseman.

Was a 2017 3rd round pick a great return for Eric Gelinas?

No, but it certainly was fair, especially when you consider Gelinas had just one goal, six points and a minus-8 rating in 34 games this season.

In my opinion, if the Devils knew they were going to move on from Gelinas, why didn’t they play him more to try and increase his trade value? Sure you run the risk of playing a defensive liability when the Devils were in the hunt for playoffs and him playing so poorly it would have damaged his trade value instead, but if everything panned out and he recorded a few more points and logged some extra ice time he might have netted the New Jersey Devils a slightly higher return.

He ended up a healthy scratch 29 times, including the Devils’ last nine games.

Would it have been an NHL Trade deadline if Lee Stempniak wasn’t dealt?

I mean really, this is the third straight deadline in which the 33-year old veteran was dealt, and in return the Devils acquired two draft picks – a 2017 second round pick and a 2016 fourth round pick.

Having played in all 63 games with the Devils this season, Stempniak was the highest scorer on the Devils after recording 16 goals and 25 assists in 63 games, but this return is a win for the New Jersey Devils.

When all was said and done, Ray Shero fetched two draft picks for a guy he signed for chump change right before training camp.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stempniak re-sign with New Jersey in the off-season either, but until then we all have to deal with Bruins fans cheering on the ‘STEMPAHHH’ in their famous New England accents for the duration of the 2016 season.

Interesting.

Similar to Gelinas, Matteau never really fit into the Devils future plans under John Hynes’ system, but at just 22-years old it was quite interesting to see the Devils give up on him so quickly.

Smith-Pelly, 23, will bring some much needed grit and toughness to the New Jersey Devils, and he’ll probably fill the Stempniak-sized hole for the Devils in their top-six for the remainder of the season, but as far as the future goes for Smith-Pelly in New Jersey, that’s quite the mystery.

Smith-Pelly is a restricted free-agent at the end of the season, and it’s unlikely another club would exercise him an offer-sheet. He hasn’t really gotten an extended-look from anyone in the NHL just yet, so perhaps he might have found a potential home in New Jersey.

Next: Let's Make a Deal

Look for the next few months to be an extended tryout for Smith-Pelly in New Jersey. If he works out, they’ll likely sign him to an extension, if not, Shero will probably flip him to what would be his fourth NHL team.