New Jersey Devils: Sleeper Trade Deadline Targets Not Named Timo Meier

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6): Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6): Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

We are just over one month away from the March 3rd NHL Trade Deadline, making this time of the year a rumor-filled frenzy. Our beloved New Jersey Devils have been heavily involved in these rumors, particularly surrounding San Jose Sharks star Timo Meier. Whether the Meier rumors are smoke and mirrors or there is genuinely an opportunity for the Swiss product to don the Devils logo, it makes for fun conversation.

However, Timo Meier isn’t the only piece worth mentioning. There are plenty of pieces that would make the Devils much better. Let’s dive into some potential sleeper targets.

Jakob Chychrun 

We know General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is looking to acquire controllable assets in any trade, as he previously mentioned. The Arizona Coyotes are stuck in a rebuilding phase. We could see the Coyotes move players under team control and most likely do not fit their future window of contention. Enter Jakob Chychrun.

The 24-year-old left-handed defenseman is a solid puck mover who is steady in his own end. Chychrun is under contract through the 2024-2025 season at a cap hit of $4.6 million, a bargain for a defenseman of his caliber. A potential move for the Coyotes defenseman can solidify the Devils backend for this year as well as seasons beyond 2023.

Here is what the defense could look like with the addition of Chychrun. A third pairing of Ryan Graves and Damon Severson? Sign me up.

Jonas Siegenthaler-Dougie Hamilton

Jakob Chychrun-John Marino

Ryan Graves-Damon Severson

Nikita Zadorov 

On the topic of a big defenseman, let’s talk about Nikita Zadorov. The Calgary Flames are currently tied for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, who seem to be gaining some steam.

If March 3rd rolls around and the Calgary Flames find themselves on the outside looking in, Nikita Zadorov is an intriguing name. The 6-foot-6 Russian defenseman would bring some sorely needed physicality to this Devils team and would be a nice 6th defenseman. With a Zadorov acquisition, all of a sudden, Jack Hughes and company have some protection moving toward the playoffs.

This would be a message to the league that the Devils young stars will not be messed with, or there will be a price to pay. Zadorov is under contract for the remainder of this season as well as the 2023-2024 season at a cap hit of $3.75 million. This would be a big upgrade on the backend for the Devils, quite literally.

Nick Schmaltz

There are plenty of teams who could be potential buyers at the deadline. The Arizona Coyotes will not be one of them. They will be doing the polar opposite. As mentioned above, the Coyotes can look to move players who do not fit their window and stockpile assets.

Nick Schmaltz is another intriguing name on the Coyotes roster. Schmaltz is on pace for 20+ goals this season, and if he were playing with better players, the potential here could arguably be over 20 goals per season.

The only negative with Schmaltz is that he comes with a $5.85 million cap hit through the 2025-2026 season. Perhaps the Coyotes can ask the Devils for an extra asset to eat some of that money. If so, the Devils should be all ears. A move for Schmaltz makes the Devils forward group stronger. Schmaltz could also potentially tap into more offensive ability with higher-quality linemates.

New Jersey Devils Midseason Progress Report. dark. Next

Trade season is upon us, and the rumors of Timo Meier to the Devils are swirling. Meier rumors, amongst others, are exciting, but it doesn’t hurt to plot potential backup plans for Fitzgerald. If one thing is certain, Fitzgerald has done a great job with this roster in the past few years. We should trust him to make the right decisions to continue moving this team toward the top of the mountain.