New Jersey Devils: 5 Left-Handed Defenseman To Target This Offseason

Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Darnell Nurse

Who knows whether the Edmonton Oilers are going to be willing to trade away Darnell Nurse this offseason. Nurse is not signed beyond this season, but he’s a restricted free agent. He’s going to get a considerable pay bump from his $3.2 million he’s making this season. The Oilers do have $23 million in cap space next season, but look at that team. They have seven forwards signed and three defensemen signed. That means they need to find money for seven more forwards and four-five defensemen. So, that means they have less than $2 million per player to spend on each.

Can they afford to even give Nurse $5 million per season? What if he asks for $7 million? Then, they literally can’t make that work. The Oilers are in cap hell, and the Devils can absolutely take advantage of that.

The Devils have some favorably priced forwards, and multiple players who can play in the NHL with a ton of upside. Michael McLeod, Joey Anderson, Nathan Bastian, Mikhail Maltsev and Fabian Zetterlund are good prospects who, with the right coaching, could be full-time NHLers as early as next season. That’s obviously best-case scenario, but it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility.

That would give the Oilers a lot more money to spend on filling out the rest of their team. It would cost more than those prospects, and possibly a lot more since other teams would love Nurse on their team. This could be the move the Devils make, trading that Arizona 1st-round pick along with two or three close-to-NHL-ready prospects for Nurse. (Reilly Walsh is an interesting name here.)

dark. Next. Should Devils Trade Or Keep Sami Vatanen?

Either way, the Devils have to make a move for a left-handed defenseman. Just relying on the prospects to fill the positions of Greene and Mueller means the rebuild continues for two to three more seasons. If the Devils want to change their recent misfortunes, then it’s going to take a big deal like this.