New Jersey Devils History of Trading First Round Picks

Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19): Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19): Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matthew Tkachuk is worth a first-round pick. We all know this. He had over 100 points last season, is only 24 years old, and brings something every team needs in their lineup. Tkachuk notified the Calgary Flames that he would not be re-signing with them long-term earlier this week. With that, the Flames have two options. Option one is to keep him for one year and try and make another deep playoff run and lose him for nothing. Option two is to trade him to the highest bidder and try and gain as many assets as they can.

Losing Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets is a good indicator that they may not be able to replicate their success from last season, meaning option two is the more likely outcome. Enter the New Jersey Devils.

Now the main question for the Devils and Matthew Tkachuk. Will he sign in New Jersey long-term? The reports there are murky as there was a reported list of teams he would be okay with signing with and those same reports were refuted. So if the Devils somehow pull off a deal for Tkachuk to play with Jack Hughes for the next decade or more, it will cost them a pretty penny. The 2023 first-round pick is gone. That much is for certain. Whether or not there are protections for that pick remains to be seen.

But how often do the Devils trade their first-round picks?

We’re only looking at the deals where the Devils gave up their only first-round pick. Trade downs don’t count. For example, the Devils traded their first-round pick in 1990 to move back and take Martin Brodeur later. So drafts in which the Devils moved their first-round pick and traded back will not count on this list.

Since1982, there have only been four drafts in which the Devils did not make a first-round pick. To have a first-round pick in 36 of 40 drafts is pretty remarkable, especially the volume of trades Lou Lamoriello pulled off in the 1990s during their Stanley Cup Years.

If the Devils were to trade for Tkachuk, a first-round pick is going to be in the price tag. So when did the Devils not make their pick in the first round and who was taken in those drafts? Did the four players used with the Devils’ original picks pan out? Let’s take a look at the risk the Devils would be taking if they trade their first-round pick.