Last offseason, the Devils felt like a near certainty to sign former Calgary Flames sniper Johnny Gaudreau. He was coming off a 115-point season. His production would be perfect next to Jack Hughes, although that would make Hughes’ line very small. Still, it’s well known that the Devils were 100 percent in on Gaudreau, but he signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets instead.
The Devils immediately went and gave a $6 million-per-season contract to former Lightning forward Ondrej Palat. That was clearly a reaction to Gaudreau’s decision, and that contract is probably the worst on the team right now. However, Palat and Gaudreau have the same amount of points this season despite Johnny Hockey playing three more games.
The Blue Jackets have been terrible both seasons that Gaudreau has been there. Two coaches have been fired, including the preposterous decision to hire Mike Babcock. It’s been a mess in Ohio. Meanwhile, the Devils used that cap space to trade for and sign Timo Meier.
Clearly, the Devils got the better, and younger, player. Meier had a slow start and still has 11 points. Gaudreau has seven. The Devils avoided a disaster here. Gaudreau has always been a little inconsistent, but he’s always been a star. Now, we don’t know what this is. We’re just glad it’s not ours to deal with.