New Jersey Devils: 5 Biggest Questions Headed Into Offseason

Timo Meier #96 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Rangers during Game One in the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on April 18, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Timo Meier #96 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Rangers during Game One in the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on April 18, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils left wing Erik Haula (56): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

4. How Much Can They Spend On Internal UFAs?

The Devils have around $34 million in cap space next season. They could be set at goaltender if they just decide to let Blackwood walk and make Schmid the backup. The defense could also be easy if Fitzgerald wants to take a chance on two rookies in Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec. Then, he just has to worry about re-signing Kevin Bahl. That means the Devils have around $31-32 million to spend on the forward position.

That’s a ton, right? Well, not really. The Devils have to re-sign Bratt and Meier. Let’s say that takes up $16 million. That leaves the Devils with around $15 million to spend on seven forwards (at least). Michael McLeod could be in for a raise. Yegor Sharangovich is a complicated contract to decide, as is Nathan Bastian. Let’s say, just for ease, that takes up another $5 million. If they bring back Jesper Boqvist, that’s another $1 million.

So, with $9 million left, the Devils have to make decisions on Erik Haula, Miles Wood, and Tomas Tatar. That’s without even considering bringing back Damon Severson or Ryan Graves. Haula seems like a pretty good bet to return. He’s made it clear he wants to be here for the long term. Maybe he will take a discount.

Tatar is a different story. After an amazing regular season, Tatar did a disappearing act in the postseason. It’s not his first disappointing postseason. He went from a player who could be getting a raise to taking a discount or leaving in free agency. Wood is another player who might have to take a pay cut to return. He agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.2 million last offseason. If he were to return, we think it would be at a lower cap hit.