New Jersey Devils Need To Bank On Acquiring Kevin Labanc

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - FEBRUARY 20: Kevin Labanc #62 of the San Jose Sharks skates against Joey Anderson #14 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 20, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Sharks 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - FEBRUARY 20: Kevin Labanc #62 of the San Jose Sharks skates against Joey Anderson #14 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 20, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Sharks 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

While some NHL teams are continuing their quest for the Stanley Cup, the New Jersey Devils are in offseason mode. They are building plans for the draft, free agency, and players to acquire through trade. The Devils have an abundance of draft capital and salary cap space to hopefully bridge the gap from rebuild to competitor sooner rather than later.

If you’ve been following Pucks and Pitchforks (and if not, get on board!) you would see many names floating around that we would love to see the Devils try and acquire. The likes of Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Vince Dunn, Jaden Schwartz (May the Schwartz be with you has a nice ring to it if the Devils ever do another Star Wars promotion), Ondrej Palat and Zach Parise (*gasp*) have been just a few of the names of players we think may become available via trade. Some of those players would look good in the black and red, however the Devils should look into another player who would fit in perfectly with the core of the team. If the Devils were to buy low on a player, they should look no further than Kevin Labanc.

The San Jose Sharks are one of many teams who will have to face some difficult roster decisions moving forward as they have limited cap space available. Kevin Labanc is a talented winger who, much like his team, underachieved.

He is owed a raise from the $1 million salary that he earned this past season after signing a team friendly one-year contract. The question remains if he signed the team-friendly contract knowing the team would negotiate in good faith and get a nice bump in pay for his next contract. That remains to be seen, but nonetheless the Devils should be contacting Sharks general manager Doug Wilson to see if he is available.

Why would the Devils want a guy like Labanc? He plays a position of need at right wing and is potentially a nice long term replacement for…deep breath, don’t hyperventilae..fan favorite Kyle Palmieri. Much like when Palmieri was with the Ducks early in his career, Labanc was fighting for top-six minutes as a youngster on some stacked San Jose teams. When Palmieri was given the proper ice time to succeed, he subsequently became a 30-goal scorer. If Labanc gets an opportunity to play with a Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes, he could be scoring 25-30 goals sooner rather than later.

Next. Pucks and Pitchforks First Round Playoff Picks. dark

Labanc already has amassed 50 goals and 149 points through four NHL seasons at just 24 years old. His counting numbers are reminiscent of a top-six winger and Corsi percentage suggest that his team is more successful when he is on the ice than off. Labanc would fit in perfectly with the Devils core and the direction that the Devils are headed in.

The Devils have many glaring holes on their roster so Labanc would fill a role in both the short and long term. The Devils have the flexibility to facilitate a trade and the space to sign him to a reasonable contract that would not be hurtful to the team’s future. Labanc would provide the Devils a long term insurance policy if the the team were to trade one of, or both Kyle Palmieri or Nikita Gusev. The Devils have the assets to make some splashes this off-season, and adding a player of Labanc’s caliber is a step in the right direction.