New Jersey Devils Trade Deadline Moves Make Them Legitimate Contenders

General manager Tom Fitzgerald of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
General manager Tom Fitzgerald of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils are currently one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. General Manager Tom Fitzgerald has managed to improve a roster that had already posed a threat to the rest of the league before his recent trade activity. With multiple trade deadline acquisitions, including Timo Meier, the best player on the market, Fitzgerald has beefed up this team for a run at the Stanley Cup. The Devils might even be one of the favorites to hoist Lord Stanley this June.

A message was sent when the Devils acquired the crown jewel of the NHL trade season in San Jose Sharks superstar Timo Meier. A Devils team that already seemed ready to make noise is now primed for a long playoff run.

Meier made an immediate impact upon joining the Devils, tallying his first goal in his first period with his new team. Meier skated on a line with Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt on Sunday, arguably the best line in the National Hockey League if they continue to build off their first appearance together.

The Devils built a formidable top-six forward group thanks to the Meier trade. On top of deploying an elite top-six, Lindy Ruff may have struck lightning in a bottle with the new-look third line of Jesper Boqvist, Erik Haula, and Ondrej Palat. That line combined for five points in Sunday’s win against the Arizona Coyotes. Depth scoring and grit are something the Devils have been seeking this season. Meier gives the team an elite, physical finisher while allowing role players to play in a more comfortable role.

This is all without mentioning Tom Fitzgerald’s acquisition of another physical role player, Curtis Lazar. He is a player that can fill a need on the Devils’ fourth line, a line that has struggled mightily this season. Who Lazar potentially replaces remains to be seen as he deals with visa issues, but this is a physical player that can block shots, kill penalties, and win faceoffs, all qualities that can have positive effects in the playoffs.

Lazar brings 24 games of playoff experience to New Jersey. That experience can help youngsters that have yet to reach the postseason. The move for Lazar could be easily overlooked, but it shouldn’t. It could have an impact in the playoffs.

Tom Fitzgerald seems to have pushed all the right buttons at this year’s trade deadline. The Devils managed to add two players to their roster, giving them a physical edge and contributions on both ends of the ice. The Devils were already good. Fitzgerald made this team a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Devils Finish With A Strong Trade Season. dark. Next

It’s quite easy to see that Timo Meier greatly improved the Devils in just his first game. This is a versatile team up and down the lineup with a tough dynamic of speed and a bit of physicality and grit. When this Devils team clicks on all cylinders, they will be a well-oiled, four-line machine that nobody will want to face come playoff time.