3 New Jersey Devils Who Deserve A Bigger Role In 2024-25

Acquiring depth will be high on GM Tom Fitzgerald's "to-do" list this summer. Before he goes out spending millions in free agency, he should take a look and see what he has in-house to fill those roles.
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Tom Fitzgerald has more priorities than we can count for the New Jersey Devils this offseason (goalie and coach seem to be top of the list), but an underrated priority has to be adding depth to the roster. He watched as injuries hampered most of the early part of the season. No team can ever prepare for injuries and how long star players will be out, but they should always be ready for when players miss significant time.

Fitzgerald will undoubtedly look towards the free agent and trade market to address the depth problem. This is a great free agency class when it comes to adding bottom-six forwards and bottom-pairing defensemen.

However, the Devils are in a slight cap crunch and will have less money to work with this summer than initially thought. So, instead of dumping millions on multiple positions, Fitzgerald should look internally to a few players who can greatly improve the Devil's depth at the NHL level. Especially those who have earned a chance to do so with strong performances

1. Brian Halonen

The Devils signed Halonen from Michigan Tech at the end of the 2021-22 season and was much of an afterthought. He was coming off of a great senior season but didn't project into much more than an AHLer.

However, over the past two seasons - and 2023-24 in particular - Halonen's game has continued to take jumps forward. This past season though, Halonen put together a fantastic 20-goal campaign in 35 AHL games. This was enough to earn him his first NHL call-up

In the two games in the NHL, Halonen went pointless and averaged just 8:17 of ice time. What he did display though was something the Devils bottom-six needs desperately; speed and physicality. Halonen boasts a sturdy frame to handle the physicalness of the NHL and is a significantly better skater than the likes of Tomas Nosek, Chris Tierney and Kurtis MacDermid.

The question will be if his AHL scoring can translate at all to the NHL level. If it can, he should be a sure-fire starter on the Devils fourth line. If it doesn't, maybe he fits more as a 13th or 14th forward who comes in and plays about 20 games or so.