Final Thoughts On New Jersey Devils Moves At NHL Trade Deadline

The New Jersey Devils were one of the busiest teams at the NHL Trade Deadline, as Tom Fitzgerald made four moves.

Feb 25, 2024; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Tyler Toffoli (73) heads towards
Feb 25, 2024; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Tyler Toffoli (73) heads towards / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

There is quite a lot to unpack as we look back at the NHL Trade Deadline. The day went up and down for New Jersey Devils fans, so let's get right to it.

Losing Tyler Toffoli stinks, but we knew it was coming and we wish him the best. If his camp wanted a longer deal as it sounds, the team dodged a bullet no matter the return. That being said, it is very surprising not to get a first for a guy in the top 30 in goals in the entire league, and players really went for a lot less than normal today. Either way, an asset is an asset, and at least picks can be used to throw at what they need in the offseason.

We actually liked Colin Miller as a depth guy and thought he was decent with Luke Hughes for the most part, but the Devils have enough right-shot guys on the back end going into next season. He probably didn't want to sign up for 20-30 games next season when he is capable of playing on a third pair somewhere else. That was a good trade getting a future pick.

Jake Allen at 50% retained ($1.9 million against the salary cap) for the remainder of this season and next season was head-scratching at the time, and Devils fans were up in arms right away. Honestly rightly so.

The team needed a goalie if they were going to push playoffs months ago, and now they just need to let the season die, so why give up anything at all for a goalie? A third-round pick is probably more useful as bait in the summer, and the fact it can be a second if he plays 40 games is a bad condition to add. He is rocking an .892 save percentage and 3.65 goals against, which is insanely bad and just meant the Devils had (at the time) four goalies under .900 and not even serviceable backup goalies. It might not be much money, but relying on a bounce-back year from a guy who will be 34 next season and has had these numbers for two years is a bad bet. Fitz deserves the heat on this one.

The second goaltender deal of the day, however, was a lot better. The Devils got rid of Vitek Vanecek's money for a seventh-rounder and added a guy who either can be let go after the season or can prove he has some bounce back in Kaapo Kahkonen. He is 27, turning 28 in August, and his numbers are as bad as our goaltenders with yet another .895 save percentage. Still, the Sharks are a historically bad team, so even this awful Devils' defensive system should be a bit of an upgrade, and perhaps just the change of scenery to what might feel like his first meaningful hockey game since he was on the Wild will spark him a bit. Either the Devils got a serviceable backup or cap space for next season, and either one is better than what they got out of Vanecek this year.