5 Moves New Jersey Devils Can Make To ‘Win Now’

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 12: Tom Fitzgerald looks on after being named interim general manager by New Jersey Devils owner Joshua Harris while he addresses the media prior to the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 12, 2020 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 12: Tom Fitzgerald looks on after being named interim general manager by New Jersey Devils owner Joshua Harris while he addresses the media prior to the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 12, 2020 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

3. Sign Braden Holtby or Robin Lehner

Another glaring issue the Devils face and have faced for the last few years has been goaltending. The fall from grace Cory Schneider had was unexpected and very quick. So quick that it took a lot of people by surprise. What surprised people even more was that Ray Shero didn’t address the issue sooner. Keith Kinkaid had a great run and now finds himself in the AHL. Eddie Lack was dependable while within the organization but can’t compete due to medical issues. Mackenzie Blackwood has emerged as a dependable number one-a type goalie but sometimes has nights you wonder if he is going to be able to last. The other option? Louie Domingue who some nights can stop 59 of 60 shots and the other knocks the puck into the net with his own blocker out of the air.

There seems to be two options on this years free agent market that the Devils can sign to help the team “win now”; Braden Holtby and Robin Lehner. Both players have either won or were a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in their career (Lehner came in third in voting last season). No Devil has won the award since Martin Brodeur won in 2007-08. Blackwood shows potential of being someone who can win the award one day, but it seems like a lofty goal given his ceiling. However, the Devils don’t need a goalie that can win the Vezina on a consistent basis, they just need someone who can be consistent.

Holtby has fallen off just a tad in recent years. However, he helped back stop the 2017-18 Stanley Cup Champions Washington Capitals making game saving stops. He has similar career stats to Sergei Bobrovsky but probably won’t command as much as Bobrovsky. Bob has a ten million AAV, something Holtby shouldn’t even consider asking for. A contact within the range of six and a half to eight million AAV seems reasonable for a goalie of Holtby’s stature. Being at the age of thirty however is a red flag for giving out a long-term contract. The Devils could offer Holtby a three-year, $8 million deal and have Holtby help Blackwood in his development and by the time the contract is over, Blackwood can take over full time when he is absolutely ready.

Robin Lehner has been solid for the last two seasons. Seeming to come into his own as a member of the New York Islanders and having a drastic lifestyle change earning him the Masterton award. Lehner before hand was very inconsistent as a member of the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. Lehner won’t break the bank like Holtby, but he doesn’t come with the resume as Holtby does. You cannot go wrong with either player, however. The only thing that is the wrong choice, is having Blackwood and Domingue be the two options. The goaltending position must be looked at. Overpaying may be a must to have stability, but it is stability none the less.