The New Jersey Devils have a very extensive checklist this offseason as it appears Tom Fitzgerald is ready to go crazy. The team has been closer to the salary cap floor than they have been to the cap ceiling over the past few years, and the one time they actually decided to spend big to impress Taylor Hall it blew up in their face pretty magically. However, the Devils have a lot of money to spend, and they have assets to build a young team around star free agents.
Speaking of star free agents, the top dog this season is Gabriel Landeskog. The current Colorado Avalanche captain has been given a free pass to test the market after the two sides couldn’t agree. The Avs are reportedly very far apart in terms of money. Landeskog is going to make a lot of money this offseason.
The Devils don’t really make sense for Landeskog. They aren’t the right team to give him a six or seven-year deal. He’s going to make between $8 and 10 million per season. The Devils definitely have the money, but he isn’t the player that puts them over the top. He doesn’t even get them near the middle without huge jumps from Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. Dougie Hamilton is that player.
So, the Devils should look elsewhere for forward free agents. They could use a top-six forward, but Landeskog just isn’t the right option. There are much better options that will A. come at a much cheaper annual price B. come with a lot less term and C. wouldn’t want to be the team’s star or ask to be the team’s captain at any point. The Devils need a player with top-six skill but a bottom-six personality. There are players that fit the bill that would be worth the money.