One dream, one realistic, and one bargain player for the New Jersey Devils in NHL free agency

With NHL free agency now within three weeks away, the New Jersey Devils must start looking toward a few different players who will help the team rebound.
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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NHL free agency and the defensive rotation, or at least defensive-oriented forwards, should be synonymous with the New Jersey Devils. They could roll with some former players who fans would like to see return to Newark, or general manager Tom Fitzgerald could seek to bring in some fresh faces who have never played in New Jersey. 

That said, however, two of the three names you’ll find below are familiar with the Devils, having played against them as division rivals either at one point in their career or currently. 

Those three names have been divided into three different categories: A dream free agent, or a player who could make a significant impact at a higher price. A realistic free agent, or one who would come at a modest price, and a bargain free agent. The latter of which may not cost the Devils much if they decided to bring such a player in, but one who could nonetheless make a high impact. 

Dream Free Agent: Sean Walker, D

With so much trouble at the blue line last season, Tom Fitzgerald should have a few defensemen on his shortlist, and Sean Walker wouldn’t be a half-bad name to put at No. 1. 

Walker played for an overachieving Philadelphia Flyers team throughout most of the 2023-24 season, and remember, he didn’t play in front of the best goaltenders. You can say the same for his stint with the Colorado Avalanche, as he had either an underperforming Alexandar Georgiev or a young Justus Annunen in the crease. Once again, not the most ideal scenarios despite the fact he played for an outstanding team in Denver. 

So it shouldn’t be totally surprising that Walker was on the ice for 65 goals allowed at even strength. But it’s always a plus to note that he would be okay with playing in front of so-so goaltending if this is indeed what the Devils roll with and if they sign Walker - but at this point, it’s all hypothetical. 

Let’s also consider the whopping 73 goals he was on the ice for in the same situation, his 53.2 Corsi For, despite over 50 percent of his starts occurring in the defensive zone, and the physical game he brought. Walker would be an upgrade over John Marino and Jonas Siegenthaler, and if signed, he would immediately excite those in Newark.