The New Jersey Devils‘ playoff chances have long been gone, and many Devils fans have focused their attention on the upcoming NHL draft and free agency. Changes are inevitably coming for the team once again, as the Devils will have draft picks and cap space at their disposal, along with a new general manager who will look to make a splash.
Fans will clamor for some big unrestricted free agents who may be available; such as defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Jake Muzzin, and Tyson Barrie, goaltenders Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom and Jaroslav Halak, and forwards Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov and Chris Kreider.
While those players would make the Devils a better team, making big splashes in free agency is not the recipe for success, especially when the team is not one player away from being contenders. Let’s take a look at some under the radar free agents and trade candidates the Devils should strongly consider taking a chance on.
Kevin LaBanc is a pending restricted free agent for the San Jose Sharks, and will look for a bump in pay from a team that will have limited cap space available. LaBanc fits in perfectly with the young core and direction the Devils are going in. Overlooked on a Sharks team deep with talent, the 24 year old is an extremely talented winger.
LaBanc possesses a great shot and would compliment Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes perfectly. A native of Brooklyn, New York, LaBanc could ultimately benefit from a change of scenery with a more solidified role in the top six. If 2021 unrestricted free agent to be Kyle Palmieri were to get traded or leave via free agency, LaBanc would be the ideal replacement, as he will be a future 25-30 goal scorer in this league.