5 Mistakes New Jersey Devils and Tom Fitzgerald Must Avoid This Offseason

The New Jersey Devils are facing their most important offseason in a long time. There are some mistakes Tom Fitzgerald must avoid at all costs.
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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2. Finding the Wrong Goalie

Yeah, we all knew this was coming. The Devils have known they need a goalie since last season ended after a Round 2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. We all hoped Vitek Vanecek didn’t lose his confidence in the playoffs and Akira Schmid could sustain what he showed last season, but neither was likely. 

Fitzgerald tried to trade for a goalie all season. He wasn’t able to get a trade partner until literally hours until the NHL Trade Deadline. There, he traded for Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen. They were both much better than anything the Devils had going for them outside for a short Nico Daws stint before he was overused.

Now, Fitzgerald must decide what to do at the position. Allen is signed through next season. Kahkonen is an unrestricted free agent. Vanecek was part of the trade with the Sharks, so he’s not something the Devils have to address this year. Daws and Schmid are both in need of new contracts, and it will be intriguing how the Devils address their situation. 

It’s likely the Devils go big-game hunting. Fitzgerald has said as much. Barry Trotz has said as much about Fitzgerald. Will Juuse Saros be on the Devils? Is Jakob Markstrom, whose very public waving of his no-trade clause for the Devils made this very awkward in Calgary, the most likely option? Those are the two top options, but there are others. Who will be starting for the Devils on opening night? We expect to know sooner rather than later.