New Jersey Devils: 3 Top-End Free Agents To Target

Michael Bunting #58 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Michael Bunting #58 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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The New Jersey Devils are starting to solidify their salary cap table. Jesper Bratt signed an eight-year deal for less than $8 million, leaving the team with north of $26 million left to spend. Timo Meier is the next big free agent to sign, but if he sticks to around $8 million or even something like $8.4 million, the Devils would still have $18 million to spend.

Yes, the Devils have a lot of free agents to sign. However, outside of Meier and someone like Erik Haula, most of these free agents are going to be close to the minimum. So, the Devils will still have money to spend on a big name. This is especially true if they decide to let Tomas Tatar walk in unrestricted free agency.

There aren’t very many great free agents. This is a great class on paper. There are Hart winners, Conn Smyth winners, Selke winners, and a laundry list of Stanley Cup winners. Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jonathan Toews, and Jonathan Quick are some of the huge names that are available. However, they are huge in name only at this point. In fact, some the Devils should avoid at all costs. Despite the weird class, there are some stars the Devils should target.

New Jersey Devils
Ryan O’Reilly #90 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Ryan O’Reilly

While the Devils signing Haula seems like a formality, what if the Devils could find someone who fits even better? Ryan O’Reilly was once considered one of the best centers in the NHL. He’s a former Selke Trophy winner, the same trophy Nico Hischier is targeting right now. He’s also a Conn Smythe winner, dragging that St. Louis Blues team to its first-ever championship.

O’Reilly would play an interesting role with the Devils. He’s not the 70+ point player he was in his heyday. However, it seems conceivable that last year was an outlier.

O’Reilly finished the year with 30 points, the fewest he’s had since he was a teenager with the Colorado Avalanche. He was much better with the Toronto Maple Leafs after the trade from St. Louis. He had 11 points in the final 13 games of the regular season, a 69-point pace. The Devils can at least expect a 50-point player while fitting on either a line with Jack Hughes or running a third line with other great young players.