New Jersey Devils: Ranking 2020 NHL Trade Deadline One Year Later

Blake Coleman #20 of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Blake Coleman #20 of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils completely tore down the house in the weeks leading up to the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline. Between February 16th and February 24th, the Devils made five trades. They ranked from meaningless at best, to moving the sheer foundation of the franchise.

Let’s take a look at each trade and rank them based on the assets they got for the players in question.

Ranking: Worthless

This was always a weird trade on paper, but maybe it was throwing a bone to the Vancouver Canucks, who were dealing with goalie injuries. The Devils held their 1st-round pick thanks to another trade on this list, and if they missed the playoffs that pick moves to the 2021 NHL Draft. The 2020 draft was widely considered a better draft, but the pick the Devils ended up making does seem strange. McIntyre was insane in Binghamton, putting up a .977 save percentage in four games and allowing less than a goal per game. He’s turned that into another amazing start to the season with the Utica Comets. Domingue played one game in Vancouver, and he got lit up.

Ranking: Bad Value

It seems like it’s been at least three years since Wayne Simmonds suited up for the Devils, but as of one year ago yesterday he was on this team. Then, the Devils moved him to the Buffalo Sabres so they could take an ill-fated run towards the playoffs. It went so badly, the Sabres didn’t even make the 24-team playoff. There were rumors teams were willing to give up decent prospects for Simmonds, but the Devils ended up getting a 5th rounder a year away. It was not a great value after Tom Fitzgerald was crushing the game in all his other trades.

Ranking: Great Then. Hurts Now.

Getting a 2nd-round pick and a defensive prospect for an aging Andy Greene who was on an expiring contract was a massive win at the time. The Devils’ captain was more than likely not coming back, and the Devils were going nowhere. Still, Lou Lamoriello wanted one of his best undrafted free agents, and he paid a little extra for him. When looking at the deal now, the Devils surely could use Andy Greene now. The Devils penalty kill is by far the worst in the league, and losing Greene is a major reason for that. There’s nobody who can block a shot like Greene, and he just knew where to be when the other team had the man advantage. This deal is still a good one, but it’s incomplete at this point since the 2nd-round pick is for 2021.

Ranking: Still A Win-Win

Finding a trade that is a true win-win is a rarity in today’s NHL. Current GMs are trying to win every deal. The instant reaction of social media likely has something to do with how deals go down, but this deal was one that had a lot of Devils fans excited yet sad. Blake Coleman was a great Devils player who brought a lot to the table. He was a fan favorite who turned into an awesome player on both sides of the ice. However, the Lightning put a 1st-round pick that belonged to the Vancouver Canucks dangling in front of them. When they added their 1st-round pick from the previous year, Nolan Foote, it was a no-brainer. The Devils ended up drafting Shakir Mukhamadullin with the pick, which complicates this. He’s a fine prospect, but there were better players on the board. Either way, Foote is on the cusp of making the NHL as a 20 year old. He’s almost certainly going to make his NHL debut this season. Coleman was starting Stanley Cup Final games. Both teams are very happy with this trade.

Ranking: Just Total Domination

This one got complicated when the Carolina Hurricanes tried to say publically that the deal was done with Janne Kuokkanen and Freddy Claesson. There was a draft pick that was contingent on Vatanen’s playing time. Obviously, the pandemic-shortened season made that complicated. Vatanen ended up playing zero regular-season games and seven playoff games. An arbitrator decided that it was enough to not only give the Devils a draft pick but a 3rd-round draft pick, which was the highest the pick could be as per the parameters of the original deal. The Devils selected Nico Daws with that pick, a goalie who has a real chance to be an NHL player in the near future. His season has been weird because of the COVID pause of the OHL, but he still has a ton of talent. Meanwhile, Kuokkanen has been a very good player for the Devils. He’s in and out of the lineup because of the Devils’ current situation, but he has six points in 13 games.

Next. Nico Hischier Is Going To Be Fine. dark

Oh, and then the Devils re-signed Sami Vatanen in the offseason. So, this is a huge win for the Devils.