After making it to the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, New Jersey Devils fans enjoy not having to discuss the NHL Draft way too early for the first time in over five years. In fact, there hasn’t been much discussion at all, considering New Jersey doesn’t currently own a 1st round pick this summer.
Despite this, NJD GM Tom Fitzgerald has said the lack of capital won’t prevent him from making a potential splash during June 28th’s festivities. If the Devils were to make some kind of move, here’s what we could possibly see.
Jesper Bratt/Timo Meier Sign and Trades
If you’ve still been engaging with Devils’ storylines following elimination, then you’re very aware that the big narrative going on surrounding the organization right now is ‘When are Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier getting their contracts?’ While Devils fans hope these two forwards are playing in red and black for years to come, it’s instrumental that the team at least receives compensation if one of them walks. Just look at what was sent to San Jose in exchange for Timo back in late February.
While this is a draft class with potential stars like Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, and Leo Carlsson, some lottery teams like Washington and St. Louis might benefit more from acquiring a proven NHL talent rather than waiting for the development of someone new.
Plus, teams like the Capitals and Blues are towards the top in the league in average age. This changes their values in the offseason, and getting younger without going full rebuild would appeal to them.
4th Line Flips
Toward the back end of the season, the Devils scratched some players that were expected to be consistent in the rotation when the season started. When it comes to teams who pick later in the first round that are playoff contenders, many might be looking for established talent that can help them get to the next level.
If Fitzgerald and Co. are willing to get rid of players like Yegor Sharangovich and Nate Bastian, they could find potentially find themselves back in the first couple rounds of the draft. They could either trade them for more draft capital, like a second or third-round pick, or they could pair them with the picks they already have to move up.
Sharangovich only played in three of New Jersey’s 12 playoff games this season. Meanwhile, Bastian showed some flashes during the prime of the BMW line earlier last Winter.
It’s clear the Devils aren’t viewing the upcoming draft as a priority, but if they want to be a part of it, these are likely the two avenues in. Pairing Bastian or Sharangovich with their second-round pick could be enough to get in the back half of the first round. Would a team with two picks like the Nashville Predators? Maybe Andrew Brunette fell in love with one of his former players, and that could be enough to get their second first rounder.