New Jersey Devils: Standing Pat Is Not A Bad Thing

(Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) /

Sometimes there is a tendency for doing something just for the purpose of doing something. However, there are times standing pat is the right move. For the New Jersey Devils, that time is now.

Some New Jersey Devils fans are less than thrilled about the lack of activity this offseason, but let’s be honest, it is a youth-based league and it’s a lot easier to make a mistake than hit a dinger (unless you are Big Al) in the free agent market.  Here are some of the moves we can all be happy the Devils didn’t make and some reasons for optimism during their summer of standing pat.

Sign JVR For sure, that would have been a terrible move. Too much money, too much term.  Perhaps signing John Tavares might have been worth it, he is for sure a Top 20 NHL player, but the Devils really had no shot at him anyway. Most of the other free agents ended up falling into the “overpriced” or “paying for past performance” category in my book as well.

Sign John Moore.  At first, his leaving really bugged me.  It’s a skater’s league, and we all know “The More You Know” can do that exceptionally well.  But if you look at various advanced analytics, all of them point to Moore being average at best. At the age of 27, he probably is who he is at this point. Others, like Steve Santini, Mirco Mueller and Damon Severson (who I have been a huge critic of so I write that with a pinch of trepidation) are all a few years longer and probably have a higher ceiling. Still a bit worried about Moore leaving, but I do understand the thought process there.

Sometimes standing pat is a good thing.

Natural Improvement.  The defenders are not the only group from which we can reasonably expect improvement. Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha, Miles Wood, and Jesper Bratt are all solid young forward prospects. It’s also reasonable to expect perhaps one, if not two, of the group of Michael McLeod, Nick Lappin (31 goals in Binghamton last year), Joey Anderson and John Quenneville to make the big club and surprise a bit this season.  A suggestion that at least 4-5 of these under-25 forwards can make an increased contribution in Newark this year is more likely than not, in my view, a fair expectation.

The emergence of Keith Kinkaid. While we all hope Cory Schneider returns to form in 2018-19, because he probably has the higher ceiling of either goaltender. However, Kinkaid’s strong performance down the stretch in the Devil’s playoff drive and in the World Championships was impressive. It’s not unreasonable to believe it is possible the Devils might have “Two Number 1’s”. Like starting pitching in Major League Baseball, that’s a good problem to have.

Next. The Future Of Jesper Bratt. dark

Training camp is right around the corner, so we’ll see fairly soon how things will all work out. As a soccer fan, hearing all summer long how Tottenham had “no summer signings” yet they now sit at the top of the English Premier League is a touch comforting. Sometimes, standing pat and looking at improvement from within is a viable strategy which works out well. Hopefully it does so for the Devils this season.