New Jersey Devils NHL Trade Deadline Primer

Dmitry Kulikov #70 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Dmitry Kulikov #70 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

New Jersey Devils fans have been preparing for the NHL Trade Deadline for weeks as the team’s assets are up for grabs for the right price. The Devils already made two interesting trades over the past week. One sent Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to the New York Islanders for a 1st-round pick, a 2022 4th-round pick, and two low-level prospects. Then, on Sunday, the Devils sent the Arizona Coyotes’ 3rd-round pick to the Washington Capitals for defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler. Both deals had mixed reactions, but these deals show the team is still looking towards the future.

Over the next few hours, many fans will be locked into TSN programming to see if their favorite player is on the move. The day started off just minutes after midnight when Taylor Hall was traded to the Boston Bruins along with Curtis Lazar for Anders Bjork and a 2nd-round pick. Most analysts believe the Bruins fleeced the Sabres. Those opinions will be plentiful on Monday.

What should New Jersey Devils fans expect on Trade Deadline Day?

Now that things have kicked off, what should Devils fans expect with the many assets they could move?

Dmitry Kulikov

The Devils made Kulikov a healthy scratch on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, adding Will Butcher back to the lineup. That shows the Devils at least think a deal involving Kulikov is close enough to worry about him getting injured in the one game before the trade deadline. Defensemen are getting a decent return on the market (David Savard got Columbus a 1st-round pick and a 3rd-round pick, Mike Reilly got Ottawa a 2022 3rd-round pick). Kulikov is only making $1.15 million this season, so fitting him under the salary cap shouldn’t be a problem. A deal will likely get done, but with less and less defensive needy teams on the market, the return will be interesting to see.

Sami Vatanen

Earlier Sunday, the Devils place Sami Vatanen on waivers. It was a surprise move, but it could actually be to facilitate a trade. If Vatanen clears, which would happen three hours before the trade deadline ends (trades must be completed by 3 p.m., waiver claims are announced at noon), the Devils could then trade him to a team who could immediately put him on the taxi squad. Teams wouldn’t be able to claim him for the rest of the season. He was actually in the lineup after being put on waivers on Sunday, so it’s clear the Devils don’t want to lose him for free.

Ryan Murray

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Ryan Murray had been in trade rumors for most of the season, and he’s been playing some of his best hockey as of late. One would assume that means he’s probably on the move, but it seems like it hasn’t been that simple. Murray’s name hasn’t come up much in actual rumors, and he’s mostly used by people who are just trying to connect dots instead of actually having inside information. Still, this feels like what happened with Vatanen last season. While the return won’t be the same, expect a deal to happen at the very last minutes, possibly to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Miles Wood

Sometimes when there is smoke, there is fire. Miles Wood is having his best season in a long time, leading the team with 14 goals in 40 games. He’s basically on a 28-29 goal pace. Any team in the league would love that along with everything else he brings to the game (pure speed, hard-nosed board play, ability to race and beat icings). That has some speculating whether a team would circle back on Wood. He has one more year left at the very reasonable $2.75 million AAV. The only issue is his actual salary next season is $3.5 million. Still, a team might be willing to overpay for Wood to add him for the next two seasons.

Scott Wedgewood/Aaron Dell

The Devils have been keeping three goalies on the roster for today. Aaron Dell hasn’t played much, but he slotted into the lineup on Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres, recording his first win of the season. Dell has been below average for the Devils, but he has an NHL pedigree and a team might be willing to give up a low pick to get a depth goalie. The Devils picked up Dell off waivers, so getting anything from his would be a win. Wedgewood might get a better return thanks to his much better stats, but the Devils likely want to keep him and extend him so they have a goalie to expose in the expansion draft.

P.K. Subban

He’s not getting traded today. There’s no smoke, and he’s someone the team seems to like in the locker room.