2. Trading Jesper Bratt and/or Timo Meier
The New Jersey Devils two most important decisions this offseason are Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier. We cannot say it enough. It will come up over and over again until they both sign. It will be hard to sign either of them, as negotiations will drag on. Meier has a crippling $10 million qualifying offer that is holding things up, and if Bratt was going to sign for a decent number, the deal would have been done by now.
Devils fans have been calling for Bratt’s head for weeks now. His playoff performance did not help. However, this team is much better with Bratt on the roster than anyone that could come in Bratt’s place. We’ve seen the price of admission for superstar wingers. Kevin Fiala, Johnny Gaudreau, and Tyler Toffoli are really good comparables to Bratt. Their contracts are all over the map. However, arbitration looms large. If the Devils get there, that means Bratt will walk for nothing at the end of next season.
Meanwhile, Meier can sign that $10 million QO and also walk for nothing. It is a terrible situation that Fitzgerald found himself. Still, trading one of both of these assets is not the answer. The state of the Devils wingers is rough. If Bratt and Meier both leave and a superstar does not replace them, the Devils will have Ondrej Palat and Dawson Mercer as its top signed wingers.
The Devils have a hard decision, but paying both players a little more than comfortable is better than trading either piece. The Devils window just started, and they have two pieces who can grow within that window. That is too hard to find to mess up over money and cap space.