The New Jersey Devils are looking at some major contract decisions this offseason, but there are some others that aren’t getting the same publicity which could be extremely difficult.
Every New Jersey Devils fan knows that Jesper Bratt’s contract is up this season. The Devils signed him to a two-year deal prior to the start of the 2021 pandemic-shortened season. Now, that deal is up just in time for Bratt’s best season in the NHL. On top of that, Pavel Zacha needs a new deal. He’s a much harder one to figure out since he’s having a much worse season than he had last year, and now his contract is coming up at a time when the Devils are reportedly considering their options with him.
However, those aren’t all the contracts the Devils have to deal with. Not by a long shot. The Devils currently have five pending restricted free agents on the roster and seven pending unrestricted free agents. That’s just on the NHL roster. They also have four pending free agents in Utica as well.
This is a lot on the plate of Tom Fitzgerald this offseason. With the Devils looking into the future and the present, they have to consider who is right for this team moving forward and who might get lost in the shuffle. There are only a limited amount of roster spots open next season. Looking at the roster, it appears they have 13 forwards who will be back based on contract status pending a trade. That leaves maybe one spot to bring up a new forward like Alexander Holtz. They have five defensemen signed through next season, so they have one or two spots for defenders.
This makes many of the contract negotiations complicated. The Devils have to figure out what to do with these players on top of figuring out how much they are worth.