6 New Jersey Devils Who May Not Have A Roster Spot Next Season

Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Pavel Zacha #37 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Pavel Zacha, Andreas Johnsson, and Tomas Tatar:

For starters, don’t be shocked if Pavel Zacha is a member of the Devils come training camp. All season long, his name continued to pop up during trade talks. Whether it was him going to Vancouver or Washington or whoever, the noise was there.

As for his play, you can argue that he doesn’t even deserve a roster spot. If you’re life relied on Zacha working hard and winning a puck battle, then you should start planning your funeral (still better odds than Tomas Tatar hitting the net on a point-blank chance).

There are multiple young wingers who can bring as much offense as both of them while giving more effort. Alexander Holtz is right around the corner. Nolan Foote and Fabian Zetterlund showed some promise during their short stint with the big club. There’s always the possibility the team grabs a veteran or two in free agency.

Tatar and Andreas Johnsson are in the same boat as Zacha. They’re under contract for another year after underperforming all season long. While both showed a lot more intensity than Zacha, they contributed less. These three were large reasons as to why the Devils had basically no scoring come from their third line or anyone besides Hughes, Bratt, or Hischier.

However, if there is one positive for all of them to take away, their magic act really improved because, in most games, they were invisible.

As for their futures, I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnsson or Tatar come back, but a Johnsson trade and Tatar dump are possibilities too. It was rumored that the Coyotes had an interest in Johnsson. As for Tatar, who is owed $4.5 million next season, a buyout could be on the table. According to CapFriendly, if they were to buy him out this summer, they’d save $2.16 million in cash next season and $2.33 million on the cap. Then, they’d have to pay just over $1 million in cap hit in 2023-24.

What I’d do: Trade Zacha and Johnsson, release Tatar. Zacha has value and can be packaged in a big player deal, while Johnsson can net a late-round pick. As for Tatar, nobody is taking that contract, and considering all the times he’s been scratched on other teams, he may not be what the Devils need to build a winning culture.