Johnny Gaudreau Spurning New Jersey Devils: A Blessing in Disguise

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) controls the puck during the warmup period against the New Jersey Devils at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) controls the puck during the warmup period against the New Jersey Devils at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

It has been a crazy past 10 days for the New Jersey Devils. They drafted the top defenseman in class, Simon Nemec after the Montreal Canadiens shocked the NHL world by drafting Nemec’s Slovak teammate Juraj Slafkovsky first overall. They also traded Pavel Zacha to the Boston Bruins for a veteran center named Erik Huala, signed the hard-working two-time Stanley Cup champion and veteran Ondrej Palat, and hired Jack Adams candidate and former teammate of Tom Fitzgerald, Adam Brunette, as one of the Devils’ assistant coaches, and other noticeable moves. But the icing on the cake belongs to the Devils losing the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes.

The Devils making a move for Johnny Hockey was a very bold attempt to significantly bolster the top six and wing depth. It would have been jaw-dropping to see Gaudreau speeding up and down the ice making highlight reel plays with Jack Hughes.

Unfortunately, Gaudreau unexpectedly signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that offered less money than the Devils. This really hurt especially for Devils fans who thought that he was coming home and going to help the Devils finally make the playoffs for the first time in five years. But if I told you that this unfortunate event might be a blessing in disguise?

Think about it. The Devils might have dodged a bullet with Gaudreau. If Gaudreau did sign with the Devils, he would have been eating up a significant amount of cap space for the next seven years. Also, Johnny Gaudreau is not as young as he used to be. He is 28 years old and he will turn 29 in the middle of August. At the end of his contract, he would be 35 or 36 years old. He would be leaving his prime at some point in this contract; thus, his production will plummet.

And with the size of that contract, it will be extremely hard or impossible to trade Gaurdeau; thus, they might have salary cap issues and struggle to sign younger players in the future.

Would it be worth it if Gaudreau made that much money while producing not as much as he should have? I think that answer is no. The Devils also have a few promising prospects coming up that might need contracts in the next few years when their entry-level contracts expire too. If those prospects become stars or studs, they might ask for more money that might not have enough to give to them nor might not be able to afford to keep some of their current core.

Who would you like to see Jack Hughes and/or Nico Hischier leave the Devils since the team might not be able to pay them? Absolutely not. The Devils also could have had a rough time resigning Jesper Bratt if Gaudreau signed with the Devils too. Bratt is rising up to becoming a star in NHL.

It would be painful to see him so since he has not entered his prime yet and he is much younger than Gaudreau. Would you rather have a 29-year-old Gaudreau who will most likely put up franchise record-breaking numbers for a few years then drop off or have a 23-year-old Bratt who is only 23 years old, the points leader on the team, and has the potential to play much better than that for 6-8 years?

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Therefore, Gaudreau not signing with the Devils is a huge blessing in disguise even though it really hurts at the moment. The Devils have a young core that has the potential to be elite and young prospects that could end up being more valuable and effective than Gaudreau alone and for possibly less money. My fellow Devils fans, the Devils will and are getting better. Fitzgerald has been making some good moves as of late that could really bolter the development of this team. Gaudreau or not, I believe in this group of players. We just have to be a little more patient for the flowers to bloom.

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What do you think about this article? Do you agree that not getting Johnny Gaudreau might be more beneficial for the Devils? Do you think the Devils will not get better by not getting Gaudreau? Please feel free to leave a comment below and let’s get a discussion going.