The New Jersey Devils have reportedly been calling about available defensemen this season. Things haven't been as smooth as fans hoped after the loss of Damon Severson and Ryan Graves in the offseason. Dougie Hamilton's injury makes things even worse. Simon Nemec has done a splendid job, but he's just three games into his NHL career. Luke Hughes might be the Devils best defenseman, but the collective stink of John Marino and Jonas Siegenthaler after their play was one of the main reasons for the Devils defensive dominance last season is hard to watch.
The latest 32 Thoughts podcast from Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek went into detail about the Devils defenseman search. It's clear Tom Fitzgerald is at least seeing what's out there. We know some of the obvious names like Chris Tanev, but the Devils should avoid the wrong defenseman. However, there are some defensemen nobody is really talking about that could be available.
32 Thoughts mentioned Adam Larsson, and a return to New Jersey makes some sense, but his term would make it hard to work. However, there's another Seattle Kraken defenseman who could be an easy target.
Justin Schultz was not in the lineup when the Devils and Kraken squared off on Thursday. The Kraken decided to replace him in the lineup for 21-year-old Ryker Evans. Schultz was the odd-man out on an underperforming bottom line. So, why would the Devils want the services of an aging and struggling defenseman?
For one, it's a no-risk move. Schultz is going to be a free agent after the season. He was great last year, putting up 37 points. It was his best season since 2016-17. This season, he has nine points in 26 games. He's struggled defensively, but that's never been his game. He would be a way for the Devils to replace the points that left with Dougie Hamilton.
Schultz would come in as depth who could come in when the Devils need more offense. They can play matchups against teams like the Bruins and Islanders.