After trading away Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac, and Dmitry Kulikov, along with saying goodbye to Sami Vatanen and Nikita Gusev for nothing, the New Jersey Devils don’t have that many NHL free agents left. There are some, but where they go is an interesting narrative. Most of them come on the defensive side, and seeing where the Devils season has gone, they probably won’t be the most desireable pieces on the market.
Still, every team is looking for depth on defense. Even if players are fringe NHLers, teams are willing to open a spot on their AHL teams in order to have an injury replacement on the big club. Just about everyone who’s a free agent on this team is going to get picked up by SOMEBODY. So, where do we think these players are going to go?
Prediction: Signs a two-year deal with Los Angeles Kings
The New Jersey Devils would be smart to at least try and re-sign Ryan Murray this offseason, but my gut says they won’t go past a one-year deal. Someone will give Murray multiple years. The Kings are a team that could add Murray on a relatively cheap two-year deal. They don’t have a glaring need on the blue line, but he would fit in well with the group they have right now. He would only command somewhere in the $1.5 million to $2 million range, which is somewhere the Kings would absolutely be willing to spend for a player like Murray.
Prediction: Signs a minor-league deal with Toronto Maple Leafs
Connor Carrick is the hero from the Devils’ latest game, scoring a then-go-ahead goal in the third period on a really good play. He beat a defender and sniped the top left corner. It was a great goal. However, he hasn’t really been more than a minor-league defender before that. He’s a fine depth signing when there is no expectation to make an NHL impact. Also, he wants to get into the media. What better place to do that than Toronto? His wife can live in the main city in Canada. Even in the AHL, he will still be in Toronto. It feels like the perfect place to keep his career going.
Prediction: Signs a minor-league deal with Nashville Predators
Matt Tennyson is not someone most fans like to see in the lineup, but teams love having him in case everything falls apart and they need a defenseman on the fly. Tennyson is willing to play in the minor leagues, and he brings some things that work in the NHL. There is a lot of bad in his game, but coaches love other things he brings to the table. John Hynes once had him on the Devils, and he’ll advocate him with David Poile, who also has Ray Shero on speed dial. All this sounds like a good opportunity for depth in the minors for Nashville.
More from Pucks and Pitchforks
- New Jersey Devils: Final Forward Grades For 2021 Season
- New Jersey Devils: Expansion Draft Strategy Takes Shape
- New Jersey Devils: Yegor Sharangovich Is Much More Than A One-Hit Wonder
- New Jersey Devils: Nico Daws Adds Intrigue To Future Goaltending Decisions
- New Jersey Devils Looking To Fight Right Until The End Of The Season
Prediction: Signs a one-year deal with Arizona Coyotes
The Devils have two goalies that are at the end of their one-year deals. Things obviously went haywire when Corey Crawford retired, and the Devils took Dell from the Toronto Maple Leafs (who really needed him). The Arizona Coyotes are losing Antti Ranta in the offseason. Dell does NOT replace him in the least bit. However, he’d be a fine backup for Darcy Kuemper.
Prediction: Re-signs a minor-league deal with New Jersey Devils
Scott Wedgewood has fallen off a cliff over the past month, but there was a time he was really good earlier in the season. The Devils won’t go into next season with him as the main backup, but he will be a nice depth piece (sensing a trend here?). He was signed in the offseason to be a third option on the taxi squad. Here, he could send Evan Cormier or Jeremy Brodeur to the ECHL and he could be the player the Devils expose in the expansion draft (but it’s doubtful the Seattle Kraken take him).