New Jersey Devils: How Much Do We Expect Erik Haula To Make?

New Jersey Devils left wing Erik Haula (56): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils left wing Erik Haula (56): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

After the start of an offseason where Devils fans, at best, were cautiously optimistic about retaining last season’s core, things got off to a very hot start after it was announced that Jesper Bratt would be re-signing with NJD for 8 years and $63 million. Additionally, Amanda Stein reported Friday morning that coveted free agent Timo Meier has been in communication with GM Tom Fitzgerald and would also like to come back to New Jersey on an 8-year deal.

Even with Bratt’s contract finalized, the red and black still have over $26.4 million remaining in cap space, giving them plenty of wiggle room to bring ‘Timo Time’ back to the rock. However, there still remain some priorities to be addressed with other members of the roster still waiting to negotiate a deal.

One of those players is 32-year-old Erik Haula. He had a decent season and postseason in his first campaign with the Devils. You might not even realize he had the second-most postseason goals on the team. This includes a three-point effort in a Game 5 win against the Rangers.

Haula, who was traded to New Jersey for Pavel Zacha in a summer deal with the Boston Bruins. He was a clubhouse favorite in 2022-23 and reportedly had gone to the front office asking to discuss an extension immediately following the end of the season.

With the Devils still essentially guaranteed to have a surplus of room available following any kind of Meier extension, that certainly leaves a multi-year deal for Haula in the cards. Over the last two seasons, the Pori, Finland native earned $2.5 million each season, just short of his career high, his $2.75 million AAV deal he signed with the Golden Knights back in 2017.

Considering that Haula would likely maintain his role as the 3rd line center, a position the team values, a contract along the lines of three years and $3.5 million per season seems fair for both sides here. New Jersey doesn’t seem remotely interested in making a splash in free agency for a player like Ryan O’Reilly or Alex Killorn. That leaves money to sign their in-house free agents. Haula proved he could play with almost any other forward and had already displayed comfort within the organization.

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For many fans, the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is one to live by, and for an organization that was 3rd in the NHL in points, there isn’t much to fix. If the New Jersey Devils want to ‘run it back’ with their group, Erik Haula certainly needs to be part of that group.