3. Yes, the Devils are missing Jesper Boqvist and Yegor Sharangovich
The Devils traded Yegor Sharangovich for Toffoli. And yes, they let Jesper Boqvist walk. That’s fine and dandy, but replacing them has been less than easy.
It’s not necessarily about their individual talents as players but their overall contributions to the team. Sharangovich was a star penalty killer who scored a short-handed goal every year of his career, played up and down the lineup, and even scored 20 goals once.
Even though the Belarusian had a down year in 2022-23 by most people’s standards, he still scored 13 goals and 30 points.
Meanwhile, Boqvist is stuck in the AHL with the Providence Bruins. He made it as an NHL regular with the Devils last year as a penalty killer and bottom-six contributor, playing in a career-high 70 games. He scored 10 goals and 21 points whilst averaging just 11:36 of ice time a game.
Tomas Nosek, Nathan Bastian, and Chris Tierney have combined for just one goal and one assist across 39 games between the three. Bastian has the goal and the assist.
The Devils also have a penalty kill unit that’s clicking at just 75% – good (bad?) for 25th in the league. They had the opportunity to claim Boqvist on waivers earlier in the season and didn’t do so despite knowing that he knows the system.
With Nosek now on the shelf for an indeterminate period of time after undergoing foot surgery, the Devils’ decision to go with bargain bin replacements for Boqvist and Sharangovich has backfired in the worst way so far.