Ilya Lyubushkin or Noah Hanifin Could Provide Stability to New Jersey Devils Defense

After recently writing about Ilya Lyubushkin, his name started to come up more as a target for the New Jersey Devils. However, his isn't the only name being thrown around. New Jersey is open for business, looking to make a few key additions that can help propel this team to make a push in the playoffs.
Noah Hanifin 2022-23 Highlights
Noah Hanifin 2022-23 Highlights / Calgary Flames

The New Jersey Devils are mentioned as an obvious destination for a goalie in the trade market, but they are also reportedly asking about defensemen. They've been directly mentioned to be in on Noah Hanifin because of his stability on defense, blocking more shots than he usually does with hits. He has a 56 Blocks to 23 Hits ratio this season in 38 games played. The Sid Rate (Blocks + Hits = Result divided by games played equals Sid Rate) is 2.08, so Noah Hanifin interrupts an average of more than two times a game in those two categories.

He has 23 Takeaways in 38 games played, so he averages 0.60 Takeaways a game, and that is a very good stat line. Hanifin has six goals and 18 points and brings a good amount of setup plays on offense when he gets established in the O-zone.

Reports say Noah Hanifin wants to be back out east, and this does bode well for the New Jersey Devils; the downside comes with a doubt. Will the remaining money from the Dougie Hamilton LTIR cap space buy enough wiggle room to add a goalie and a defenseman of Hanifin's caliber?

That is a question that needs to be filled in. Another thing is do not part ways with Simon Nemec or Seamus Casey because you don't want to mortgage the near and long-term future of this team. A side note that needs to be mentioned is that GM Tom Fitzgerald is a big NCAA College Hockey guy and a former Providence University Friars alum who came from that route to the NHL via the draft and has a bit of a soft spot for his Hockey East hotbed he is familiar with. In theory, this is the player the New Jersey Devils likely favor heavily due to many factors as listed.

For those of you who read a recent article on Ilya Lyubushkin you all probably know more about him now. He is a more physical presence than Hanifin. His focus is more on hits than blocked shots. He will likely cost cheaper in terms of assets and cap space. From a hockey operations perspective, Ilya Lyubushkin is the more likely asset to acquire and still gives them more flexibility and leverage to trade for a Karel Vejmelka-type goalie. There is no way the Devils get John Gibson because the goalie market is too thin, and the yield on investment is too risky for any return.

Anaheim, like Calgary, is looking to rebuild, and the New Jersey Devils are gunning to be back in the playoffs and looking to bolster their defense and in the net. In the end, from a contributor's standpoint, if there was a friendly wager, it would be on Ilya Lyubushkin, who doesn't have a big cap hit and provides a lot of grit, size, and a veteran presence.

However Noah Hanifin's contract would need to be retained more so the Devils can make a goalie move occur. It is a game of chess than it is checkers, and so far, Tom Fitzgerald has been very wise not to put the team in any serious jeopardy with near and long-term assets. Either way, Tom Fitzgerald will find a way to get a goalie after making a move for a veteran defender, and Simon Nemec has been doing well taking over Dougie Hamilton's spot for now.