New Jersey Devils: Teams May Actually Want To Trade For Andy Greene

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 05: (l-) Stefan Noesen #23, Andy Greene #6 and Travis Zajac #19 of the New Jersey Devils celebrate their 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center on April 5, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. With the victory, the Devils clinch a playoff position. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 05: (l-) Stefan Noesen #23, Andy Greene #6 and Travis Zajac #19 of the New Jersey Devils celebrate their 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center on April 5, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. With the victory, the Devils clinch a playoff position. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

As we approach the point of the season where the rift between the league’s contenders and pretenders begins to widen, the New Jersey Devils sit ten points out of a playoff spot at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. As big of a disappointment this season has been so far, one can argue the Devils are conceivably still viable for the postseason. Having said that, the odds of an unprecedented turnaround appear remote at best.

Many Devils fans and writers have already begun looking ahead to the February 25th trade deadline, where New Jersey appears poised to become sellers. The obvious names have already made their rounds—Ben Lovejoy, Marcus Johansson, Brian Boyle; even some outlandish propositions like Taylor Hall and Sami Vatanen. While New Jersey’s pending unrestricted free agents will be among the most likely to be traded, General Manager Ray Shero could look into dealing other assets if the right deal comes along.

One Devils player worth paying attention to is team captain, Andy Greene.

The 36-year-old defenseman, who has the second-longest tenure on this team with 820 games, has one more year left on his contract after this season, which brandishes a $5 million cap hit. Historically, Greene never put up many points (he has just one goal and eight points in 33 games this season), but has played heavy minutes since becoming a mainstay on New Jersey’s defense.

While he’s had his fair share of blunders, Greene has his upsides like his shot-blocking—currently second in the league with 87—along with his reliable play on the penalty kill.

Greene is by no means a genuine top-pairing defenseman and his current role speaks volumes about the quality of New Jersey’s blue line depth. One popular viewpoint about Greene is the Devils could get more out of him if his workload was lightened by improving the defense as a whole.

More from Pucks and Pitchforks

Taking that point into consideration, it could make general managers of playoff contenders take a closer look at Greene. Looking at the teams securely in or vying for playoff spots in both conferences, Andy Greene likely falls no higher than fourth on the depth charts of most team’s defenses.

Despite appearing in just five postseason contests since 2012, Greene has appeared in 50 throughout his career—including New Jersey’s 2012 playoff run. He can log heavy minutes and bring a respected veteran presence to any locker room. Although he has a no-trade clause, I think Greene would waive it for an opportunity to win his first Stanley Cup.

The extra year on Greene’s contract can work for and against Shero. While some teams may be wary about trading for Greene, Shero could get more for him this season, compared to if Greene was just a rental.

While the New York Rangers trading of defenseman and team captain Ryan McDonagh is somewhat similar in that he also had one more year remaining on his deal last season, it would be ludicrous to even speculate the Devils could get an equivalent return for Greene. Best case scenario, Shero could pry a young prospect or roster player in exchange for a package centered around Greene. At the absolute least, he could fetch one or two picks in this or next year’s draft.

dark. Next. Devils Jack Hughes Profile

If the Devils wind up being in a selling position at the trade deadline, I’d like to say it’s unlikely Greene will be on the top of Shero’s trade list. He has made his fair share of surprising moves in the past and doesn’t shy away from parting with Lamoriello-era players. Greene is now more of a link to New Jersey’s past and isn’t part of their long-term future, which is something I’m sure Shero is very aware of as his team’s playoff hopes continue to fade.