The New Jersey Devils have completely changed the roster in seven days.
What a week it was for the New Jersey Devils. They drafted nine players last week, including three 1st rounders (and one that has some people still scratching their heads). Then, they made two major trades that most of the fanbase seem to be on board with. They made one major free agent signing, and they also made the decision to move on from some long-time Devils players. In all, at least five players are off the NHL roster and another three are coming back in.
The Devils are better today than they were one week ago. Some late-night deals have people praising new general manager Tom Fitzgerald for using his assets (a large collection of picks and prospects along with cap space) to make the team better now and in the future.
Fitzgerald made it clear before the NHL Draft and free agency, he did not want to get players who make the team better now but also have a shelf life. There were no $6 million contracts going to forwards over 30 (at least not yet). He only wanted to make savvy moves that will get the Devils thinking about what this team will look like three or four years down the line. Fitzgerald said this is not going to be a competitive team this year, but they will be once Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes hit their stride.
There’s no arguing that Fitzgerald’s moves aren’t smart. He made the team better on paper, analytically, culturally, in just about every way. He got rid of some players who were not good (and one who has a chance to be good), and brought in players who are absolutely good. There are injury questions with some of the acquisitions, but to get what Fitzgerald got for the price, there were going to be some issues with the asset.
So, when looking at Fitzgerald’s moves as a whole, which ones help the Devils the most?