The New Jersey Devils beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Friday night. It was a necessary win after losing to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. The Devils haven't been nearly as good as their preseason predictions. They are currently out of a playoff spot, and they are fighting six teams for two Wild Card spots.
The Devils seem like the obvious team for a trade. Everyone has tied them to every goalie on the market. That might be because Tom Fitzgerald has asked about every goalie. At one point, the Devils couldn't buy a save. Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid were, in a word, awful. So, with so many rumors tying the Devils to upgrades, even ones that could include a defenseman, why hasn't it happened?
Reason 1: The Market is Insane
We've said this many times. Nobody has made a goalie move despite many teams being desperate for goalies. True Stanley Cup contenders like the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Carolina Hurricanes have incredible needs in net. Yet, no team is making a move outside of claiming the Columbus Blue Jackets' third-string goalie off waivers.
There's a reason John Gibson, Jakob Markstrom, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Elvis Merzlikins are still on the teams they started the season with. The price for a goalie is astronomical. Teams just aren't willing to pay what teams are asking. The Ducks probably want two or possibly three transformible pieces in a Gibson trade. The Flames hold all the cards in trade matters because they have Markstrom, Noah Hanifin, and Elias Lindholm all probably available.
The Devils are never going to overspend. That's just not Tom Fitzgerald's nature. He could have overspent on Johnny Gaudreau, but he didn't. He could have overspent on Timo Meier when it looked like the Sharks had better offers, but he waited for the right deal. We have countless examples. Fitzgerald will never overspend on an asset. He will occasionally undersell an asset, but he will never overspend.