New Jersey Devils: Don’t Overthink Upcoming Trade Deadline

San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28): Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28): Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

The latest New Jersey Devils overtime victory pushed them to a 70% winning percentage. They now have 70 points, good for second in the Metropolitan Division. There are 32 games left in the season, meaning there are 64 points left up for grabs. The Devils can play .500 hockey the rest of the way and still hit 100 points. If the Devils kept at the same pace, they’d get another 44 points on the season,

The Devils are threading the needle far more than the team did last year, now is the time to make a few key moves before making a big splash at the trade deadline. Coach McGill needs to help refine the New Jersey defense to be very stingy and get them to prevent teams from getting the lead first. Watching guys like Jonas Siegenthaler and Dougie Hamilton look out of pace needs to be cleaned up and regain supreme defensive form.

John Marino made his return to the lineup after the All-Star Break.  Marino was the defenseman who was capable of shutting Connor McDavid down earlier in the season which is impressive.

There will be a time and a place when GM Tom Fitzgerald upgrades the 6th and 7th defense spots. Adding a Niko Mikkola is a good start, allowing the Devils to be patient with prospects like Luke Hughes at the end of his season. It might even pose a threat to Brendan Smith’s spot in the lineup.

If the Devils might not end up getting Timo Meier. The high asking price in trade or the money on his next extension might make it hard for Tom Fitzgerald to pull the trigger. A contract for Meier might interfere with upcoming free agents, like Jesper Bratt.

A more realistic trade target is Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser. The Devils are very familiar with the Canucks winger, who is a prime trade target because of his goal scoring. The need to build that scoring punch outside of Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and Ondrej Palat. Extra firepower will throw off opposing teams’ defenses and scare opposing goaltenders.

Other pieces the Devils could target are Max Domi and Frank Vatrano. Constructing the Devil’s lineup with guys who have grit, speed, tenacity, and scoring touch on a middle-six or bottom-six line would help add a more ferocious version of what the Carter Bernier Gionta line did in 2012.

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Adding players like that bring a lot of competition game in and game out in the regular season and playoffs to help grind teams’ defenses down, creating that intimidation factor that will make opponents not only fear New Jersey. By the time the 2022-23 season ends, time will tell how the New Jersey Devils can handle being in the playoffs adding those pieces extra playoffs’ worth of experience to help get out of the first round.