5 New Jersey Devils Playing For New Contracts This Season

New Jersey Devils center Dawson Mercer (91): Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Dawson Mercer (91): Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod (20): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Michael McLeod

Tom Fitzgerald’s most baller move this offseason was letting Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian hit unrestricted free agency despite both being restricted free agents. He said he had no interest in going to arbitration with either party. Bastian quickly re-signed to a two-year deal and McLeod followed suit with a one-year deal.

The fact the Devils gave Bastian more term despite McLeod playing arguably a more important role says a lot about their situation. McLeod was electric in the playoffs. His penalty killing after Game 2 of the Rangers series was producing more offense than it was giving up. He actually found an offensive touch he didn’t have in the regular season. He seemed to thrive during the playoff atmosphere.

McLeod has been a faceoff specialist and shutdown defender. Head Coach Lindy Ruff goes to the McLeod line when he needs a stop or to take possession off the draw. Eric Haula could do that to some degree, but not to the level of McLeod. So why not give him multiple years?

Something is holding the Devils back. McLeod is a restricted free agent again, so the Devils have negotiating power. If he mimics this performance and nothing comes up off the ice, McLeod might sign for a surprisingly long deal.