In a surprisingly eventful 24 hours, the New Jersey Devils have inked Michael McLeod to a two-year deal worth a low $975,000 per season. This is a great deal for the Devils and gives McLeod a chance to play for a long-term deal if he progresses the way he showed he could this past season. Overall a fantastic move by the organization.
In another move, the Devils have acquired Ryan Graves from the Colorado Avalanche for this years 2nd-round pick and a good prospect in Mikhail Maltsev. Graves had played the last two seasons fully with the Avalanche while splitting his first year in the AHL.
So far he has put up some decent numbers with 26 points in 69 games in the 19/20 season and most recently he had 15 points in 54 games. Everyone on the Avalanche had some pretty insane numbers, being probably the second best team in the league, so lots of players over shadow him. However, putting up positive underlying numbers is something that you have to do no matter what. This season he looked strong with a 57% Corsi 56% Fenwick and this was done with over half of his starts being from his own end.
On a stacked defensive core, he was also averaging 19 minutes a night which could sky rocket on the Devils to 22 or 23 minutes most night so he will need to come ready for a heavy workload. Another big benefit the Devils needed and something I have been all over is size. At 6 foot 5 and over 220 pounds, the Devils finally have a guy who can punish on the back end and wont shy away from conflict on a daily basis. This may feel like a small move now but could be a big deal that pays out quickly as younger players can get safer minutes and players know someone else has their back on the ice.
At 26 years of age, he fits in perfectly, old enough to be mature and young enough to still have plenty in the tank. At 3.1 million for the next two years it is a safe bet for the Devils and gives Colorado a little room to work with and that is something they certainly need. In the end the Devils capitalized on a situation and actually weaponized the cap well for a change so good on GM Fitzgerald for his work over the last few days.