5 last-minute things to know as New Jersey Devils begin free agency frenzy

The New Jersey Devils made moves during the NHL Draft to free up some cap space, and now they can shop during NHL Free Agency. As we hit July 1, here is what you need to know before the frenzy begins.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft, Rounds 2-7
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft, Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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A Left-Handed Defenseman

It sounds like the Devils won’t be done with just Pesce. They still need a left-handed defenseman unless Pesce decides to play on the left side as he did for a time playing alongside Dougie Hamilton. That seems unlikely. 

After the Devils traded Kevin Bahl to the Flames in the deal that sent Jacob Markstrom to New Jersey, it created a hole on the left side. They have Luke Hughes and Jonas Siegenthaler, along with Santeri Hatakka in the AHL, but that’s about it. They need an upgrade if they want a perfect roster. 

The most prominent name we’ve all been hearing is Brendan Dillon. That makes sense because he wouldn’t cost as much as Pesce. However, that rumor doesn’t seem as “confirmed” as the one about Pesce. So, there is still a chance that another player might be the one the Devils target on the left side to replace Bahl.

There are a lot of options. Erik Brännström makes a ton of sense after the Ottawa Senators decided not to qualify him. He would come cheap and would be very useful in a third-line role with little expectations. He’d also likely be paired with Simon Nemec, which could help them both grow. Nate Schmidt was just bought out and could be another cheap flier. Oliver Kylington is another interesting name to keep an eye on. Even a reunion with Dmitry Kulikov is possible.