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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4. Go All-In On Grit

We talked about this in the context of the Toronto Maple Leafs a few weeks ago, but the Devils cannot make their fatal flaw. They need to go after the right type of player who provides grit. They can’t go after the Ryan Reeves or Matt Rempe types. They have short-term value with no long-term upside in this environment. Fitzgerald already said he wants to re-sign Kurtis MacDermid, which is slightly worrisome. While we appreciate the feeling MacDermid brings in the locker room, he took way too many penalties on the ice. 

If the Devils go after too many players based on grit alone, then it will put them in a position where the lineup doesn’t fit. They would have to force square pegs in round holes. 

The Devils did have the right pieces in place last season. Michael McLeod, Miles Wood, Nathan Bastian, and others didn’t find themselves playing at the end of this season for the Devils for different reasons. Now, the Devils need to replace at least two of them.

Yet, if they go for players that have grit as their main component, it will lead to simple exposure when they are on the ice. If they aren’t causing a turnover, it will be likely they let in a goal. Does this team need to play better defense? Absolutely, but it’s all about a change in philosophy that should come with a new head coach and staff. 

Grit is important, but so is scoring. The Devils can’t sacrifice one for the other. This roster construction needs to be perfect.