Despite Current Spot In Standings, Don't Discount Possibility Devils Sell At Deadline

The New Jersey Devils beat both the Nashville Predators and Seattle Kraken this week. Now that they're back in the playoff hunt, Tom Fitzgerald has big decisions to make.

New Jersey Devils v Carolina Hurricanes
New Jersey Devils v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils picked up two wins in a back-to-back with another good effort Tuesday night, and the push for the playoffs continues. That being said, the NHL Trade Deadline is coming up, and teams seem to be moving earlier every year. Big names like Elias Lindholm have already been moved, and rumors are swirling about a lot of players, including some that the Devils apparently have an interest in, if rumors are to be believed.

As of Wednesday, the Devils are sitting two points out of a Wild Card spot and six points behind the Flyers for 3rd in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand. While most teams statistically make it or not by American Thanksgiving, despite how early that is in the season, the Devils have a pretty good shot at making it right now, looking at the teams ahead of them, and since the Flyers are missing their number one goalie for a long time. The only question is, should they stand pat with what they have, add to fill holes, or even trade off pieces?

While this is by far the least likely option, almost no chance in my mind, it is at least worth mentioning that the team could move out some guys since they are A: not in a playoff spot and B: the window is not quite open for them yet anyway. So, who could they look at moving out?

The number one guy who could be shopped for something is Tyler Toffoli, and while this wouldn't sit well with fans, it is worth mentioning as an option for a few reasons. He is coming off a career year, is turning 32 in April, and will probably be overpaid as a declining asset this offseason. With this roster as it is, the Devils would fare very poorly against the Rangers or Hurricanes in the playoffs. So, is keeping a guy who would get a massive return worth it if they either don't pay him or have to overpay just to get rolled in five or six playoff games?

The other guys who could be moved to contenders are Brendan Smith and Colin Miller, who would probably net a mid-round pick since everyone With how his play has progressed, Smith might be worth shopping just to see what they can get.

Option number two was for this team to stand pat with what they have, and it is the "safe" option from a team standpoint. They don't have a goalie, but the market is awful. They are missing a number-one defenseman, and they have had both star centers injured for significant chunks of the season. Fans would be mad about missing the playoffs, but they could sell it to the fans with all that information, and as long as it was fixed in the off-season, they would be given a pass.

The last option, and riskiest by far, is to add and go for it this year while taking on guys who will probably be in the fold for a few years. It has been reported this week that the Devils either were or still are in on Jacob Markstrom and almost had a deal done. That being said, getting Markstrom should scare everyone to death despite his .916 save percentage. He is 34, has two years left after this year at $6 million a season, and last season had a whopping .892 save percentage.

Markstrom is a wildly inconsistent goalie, and everyone knows they get worse with age, so paying anything to get that contract off them will probably make a GM look foolish next season, not to mention the 2025-26 season. The other goalie who could be looked at again is John Gibson, who we have gone over before, but this season, now he is sitting at a .901 on a terrible team. Even if the Devils are not good defensively, he should be able to improve upon that at least. however, getting off a losing team might rejuvenate him, and he is four years younger than Markstrom if this is the route they go.