New Jersey Devils Add Defensive Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler

Jonas Siegenthaler #34 of the Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Jonas Siegenthaler #34 of the Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils made the surprising move to trade a 3rd-round pick to get defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler from the Washington Capitals. It was an unexpected move as the Devils spent a draft pick at the same time they are looking to add draft capital. If you’re not watching the Washington Capitals on a daily basis, this name probably surprised you. However, fans seemed to wish he got a better chance.

Siegenthaler was a regular in the lineup until Peter Laviolette was hired. This season, he’s only been in seven games. Still, it seems like there’s a lot left in the tank here, and he’s only 23 years old. He has nice measurables at 6’3 and 211 lbs., and he can play a shutdown game from the third pair. This is something the Devils have desperately needed and haven’t had since Ben Lovejoy left two years ago.

Devils trade a 3rd-round pick for Capitals defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler.

Basically, it appeared the Capitals just didn’t have room for Siegenthaler this season. With the additions of Zdeno Chara and Justin Schultz, there were too many veterans in the way. The Capitals also re-signed Brendan Dillon. A young defenseman like Siegenthaler basically got wasted. So, the Devils saw an opportunity and spent a draft pick to take him off their hands.

The Devils put Sami Vatanen on waivers earlier in the day, and it seemed strange at the time, but it’s because there was a bigger move at play. Vatanen doesn’t have a future in New Jersey, but the Devils are betting that Siegenthaler does.

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As Amanda Stein pointed out, Siegenthaler has been friends with Nico Hischier. That’s obviously not a reason to trade someone, but it will help him jump into the locker room on a very strange year for team chemistry.

This is a very good trade for the Devils. Will it work out 100%? No, but there’s a much higher chance that Siegenthaler works out than a 3rd-round pick in a bad draft year. He’s someone with an NHL pedigree (just under 100 games played). This is a player that can give the Devils a look at a young defender while letting players like Kevin Bahl and Reilly Walsh continue to get reps in Binghamton. This also avoids putting a player with no future with the franchise like Matt Tennyson into the lineup.

Maybe this is one of those deals that really help the Devils next season. Putting someone in one of those six defensive slots helps build the rest of the team when he’s likely going to make under $1 million. He’s also someone the Devils can protect in the expansion draft. Right now, the Devils would only really want to protect Damon Severson on the defensive side. However, the protect seven forwards and three defensemen option still makes more sense since the other option is just eight skaters.

This is a multi-faceted move that will come out as smart by Tom Fitzgerald. Siegenthaler isn’t going to move the needle by himself, but his particular skill set makes a lot of sense for what the Devils need right now. He will definitely be a part of the solution, even if he isn’t the entire solution for fixing the defense.