Assessing Every New Jersey Devils Free Agent Decision

New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63) celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63) celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils left wing Erik Haula (56): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

Erik Haula

Erik Haula had a bad start to the year in terms of points, and he had a ton of opportunities to score with Jack Hughes that he failed to finish, but he turned it around thanks to his consistent effort and heart. His playoff performance was great and his versatility in the lineup adds value and gives the team depth. He moved around a lot the last few seasons and should be really happy to have a place to stay for longer than a year or two. So, getting a contract done should not be difficult, especially considering this team is competitive.

Prediction: 2-3 years $2.5 million AAV

Tomas Tatar

Tomas Tatar had a great bounce-back year being on the first line next to Nico Hischier for virtually the entire season and dominating most advanced stats. His playoffs, however were beyond underwhelming, with one point over 12 games. Moving forward, it is hard to tell where he will be next year thanks to the season’s finish. If the team wanted to keep him next to Nico or move to a 3rd line role neither would surprise me. At 32 years old, he is probably going to be winding down soon and the Devils certainly shouldn’t look at doing anything long term. If he wants to be a part of a strong team, he would be a safe re-sign for the right price. If he doesn’t, this opens the door for Alex Holtz.

Prediction:1-2 years $4.25 million AAV

Ryan Graves

Ryan Graves had a great season on the shutdown pair with John Marino. It seemed like he should be a lock to return, but those opinions have wavered. Despite his size, he wasn’t using it as much as he was on Colorado. His foot speed is barely hanging on at times. If the 28-year-old loses one step, which he will in the next few years, he will be relegated to the third pair on any competitive team with the direction the NHL is moving. Luke Hughes looked rather ready to take the spot currently held by Graves. Sure the kid made mistakes but his hockey IQ and skill were insane and he will need to play regular games next season no question. Bahl has also moved into the position of legit NHLer, something we will talk about later. No matter what the team does here is risky but they can’t afford to have him long term and someone will offer him that just like Severson.

Prediction: Let him walk