New Jersey Devils: 5 Players Who Can Sign PTO Contracts

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - FEBRUARY 13: Mackenzie Blackwood #29 of the New Jersey Devils makes the third period save on Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings at the Prudential Center on February 13, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Red Wings 4-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - FEBRUARY 13: Mackenzie Blackwood #29 of the New Jersey Devils makes the third period save on Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings at the Prudential Center on February 13, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Red Wings 4-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Detroit Red Wings left wing Justin Abdelkader (8): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

Justin Abdelkader

Again, these aren’t players we *hope* make the New Jersey Devils. These are players the Devils take a complete flier on in hopes they can either fill in on the 23-man roster or hold down the taxi squad for the entire season. That being said, Justin Abdelkader would be a really nice option.

He was bought out by the Detroit Red Wings this offseason. He still had three years left paying him $4.25 million each year. He clearly wasn’t worth what he was getting, and the front office in Detroit wanted a reset for their salary cap. His cap hit will live there for the next six years.

He had a 23 and 19-goal season before signing that big contract. Then, his production plummeted. In the four years since signing the deal, he has a total of 26 goals. That includes zero goals last season. Was it the pressure of signing that deal? At 33 years old, will he play like a different winger now that the pressure of the contract is gone?

Abdelkader clearly lost something. A lot of these players lose it mentally and they can’t get it back. The Devils have to ask if Abdelkader is that kind of player. It’s clear he will never be a 20-goal scorer again, but if he can score 10 again it’s a win. Those are the types of PTO contracts that go down as major wins.