3 Unrestricted Free Agents New Jersey Devils Should Avoid Signing

Mike Hoffman #68 of the Florida Panthers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Mike Hoffman #68 of the Florida Panthers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs – Tyson Barrie (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs – Tyson Barrie (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Tyson Barrie

The Devils have needed defensive help for a long time now. By all accounts, Ty Smith will make the club next season. However, the Devils are going to need more than just a rookie defenseman to make themselves stronger on the blue line.

Tyson Barrie is an intriguing unrestricted free agent defenseman. Barrie was acquired in the off-season by the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Colorado Avalance. He’s had such an up and down season that his name was involved in again in trade talks. His point production has dipped immensely, surprising because he is on an up-tempo offensive team like Toronto.

However, he excels in creating offense in many ways most defenseman in the league cannot. He is a savvy skater, excellent passer and has a knack for scoring; as his twelve plus goals in five of his seven full NHL seasons would indicate. All of those attributes would be welcome on a Devils team that does not have anyone who has that particular skill set. He would undeniably improve a lagging Devils power play.

Over the last two seasons his Corsi numbers have been 53% and 54.2% , which suggests that his team is better with him on the ice than off of it. However, it is troubling that his career corsi percentage is under 50%. That could attest to the fact that he was on some underwhelming Avalanche teams, but a concern nonetheless. Defenseman like Barrie are not often on the market, and he will get rewarded for his offensive acumen. If the price tag reaches five or six years at 6 million, the Devils will have to pass. By time the Devils are true contenders Barrie would be a 30 plus year old offensive defenseman, and players of his ilk don’t age very well. Devils fans are seeing first hand their 30 year old former Norris Trophy winner struggle this season.

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This will be an intriguing off-season for the Devils as they will be active in both the trade market and free agency. The Devils need to continue to build through the draft and weaponize their draft capital and cap space to cap strapped teams to acquire NHL ready talent. The Devils need to avoid paying big time free agents this off-season. If the team does dip into the free agent route, it must go after the mid-tier players that will compliment the young core the team already possesses.