New Jersey Devils: Jesper Bratt Discourse Has Moved Into Insane Territory

New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63): James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63): James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

We should have seen this coming. It happened in Toronto, one of the biggest media markets in North America and by far the biggest hockey media market. The Toronto Maple Leafs continued to get into a contract dispute with William Nylander, a talented yet flawed winger who was very young but incredibly skilled. After his entry-level contract ended, Nylander received a qualifying offer in June, but he didn’t sign his long-term contract until December, which was for just under $7 million per season.

There was a lot of extra pressure on Nylander, and it took him years to get back in the good graces of Leafs fans. It’s easy to blame this narrative on Leafs fans. They’ve been known to overreact and have high expectations for their team. So, it was such a surprise when the same narrative has been creeping into New Jersey Devils fans for the past four years.

Jesper Bratt and Nylander are almost identical in their situation. They both jumped into the league at 19 years old. They both beat expectations off the bat, and their values were hard to pinpoint. Now, as Nylander is coming close to the end of his hard-fought deal, Bratt is coming off two hard negotiations and about to sign up for a third.

Bratt’s first real postseason experience was a complete dud. He had one goal (an empty netter) and five assists in 12 games. Two of those assists came at even strength. Everyone knows he had a rough postseason. Still, he’s either the Devils best or second-best winger, depending on what happens with Timo Meier.

The opinions on Bratt have gone full-blown crazy. Multiple fans have called for the Devils to release his rights outright, making him an unrestricted free agent. Yes, there are fans calling for the Devils to say goodbye to Bratt while getting nothing in return despite him scoring 73 points in back-to-back seasons.

That’s preposterous. Honestly, it is idiotic just to suggest. As someone who’s made his fair share of terrible predictions and statements, we don’t take insulting opinions lightly. This is a terrible opinion.

Moving on. Suggesting in any way that the Devils should either lose the rights to Bratt without getting equal or fair value is not worth discussing. The Devils have a very talented forward who had a rough postseason. However, it’s not like he’s been the most disappointing winger in the playoffs this season. He still has more playoff points than Evander Kane (as of this writing). He matched players like Anthony Duclair and Reilly Smith in points. Bratt needs to be better, but it wasn’t the disaster some want to proclaim.

Next. Grading Each Devils Playoff Performance. dark

The Devils are going to get this deal done. In the meantime, stop turning on Bratt. This is a business. The Devils bought out Cory Schneider when he was no longer useful to them. They let Martin Brodeur wear another uniform despite knowing it would devastate this fanbase. The team will do what’s best for the team. The player will do the same. There’s no evidence that this won’t overlap with the Devils and Bratt this offseason.