New Jersey Devils Don’t HAVE To Make A Trade This Season

New Jersey Devils executive vice president/general manager Tom Fitzgerald: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils executive vice president/general manager Tom Fitzgerald: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Jersey Devils have been tied to just about every star player on the trade market. Timo Meier is the obvious choice, but there have at least been conversations about Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly, Brock Boeser, Max Domi, James van Riemsdyk, and even Patrick Kane. There are a seemingly unlimited amount of players available this season. The Devils can be patient and wait for the right deal to come.

Meier makes the most sense. Other great forwards would make sense. Heck, some backup goalies and depth defensemen make sense. However, it could make sense to make no deal at all.

Now before we all lose our minds a little bit, the Devils are looking to build on a team in second place in the Metropolitan Division at the All-Star break. Nobody expected the Devils to be here. We all just wanted them to fight for a playoff spot. Now, they look like a certainty for the postseason. The Devils are 11 points ahead of the final playoff team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. They are in good shape.

This team clearly doesn’t have to do anything. Despite its recent struggles, the Devils are 9-2-2 in January. Sure, struggles. It doesn’t matter how the team is playing. They are winning, and that’s all that matters.

The Devils have had depth issues as of late. The famous BMW line has been driving more like my 1998 Nissan Altima. The brakes don’t work, it accelerates at the wrong time, and we’re actually worried about asking about where the leaks are coming from. Meanwhile, the third line has been inconsistent.

Still, the Devils are trying to be patient as Ondrej Palat and Nathan Bastian work their way back into the lineup. Miles Wood finally scored a goal in their last game, so hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come. Dawson Mercer has been looking for consistency, and once it clicks, he could go off on the offensive end.

Beyond all that, the Devils are in the first year of whatever this is. So many teams make the mistake of going all in on the first year post-rebuild. The Devils have so many great prospects all over the world. Teams will be gunning for them because of these prospects. Beyond the obvious in Alexander Holtz, the Devils have prospects rising up the charts like Josh Filmon, Topias Vilen, Seamus Casey, Nikola Pasic, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Graeme Clarke, and Arseni Gritsyuk. Teams will demand these prospects in any trade. Would it be so bad if the Devils kept their current prospect pool?

The risk here is the Devils will compete hard with the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers for positioning all season long. Whether they get Meier or not, the Metropolitan Division will be a slog. Should the Devils spend big assets for a season when they may not be ready to truly compete for a title? Is this really a Stanley Cup-level team? It’s a legitimate question. Despite playing like one of the top teams in the league, this team has very little playoff experience. Jack Hughes never played in the postseason. Nico Hischier hasn’t done so since he was a rookie. Countless players on this team have never seen life after 82 games. That could lead to a hard lesson in the postseason.

Next. Bo Horvat Trade Doesn't Impact Timo Meier's Value. dark

Should the Devils make a move? If the price isn’t insane, then absolutely. What should the Devils do if the Sharks demand Holtz, Mercer, Filmon, and a first-round pick for Meier? The Devils should say no and try again in the offseason.