New Jersey Devils Day 1 free agency targets

The New Jersey Devils are looking to be very active in NHL Free Agency this season. Who might they sign on July 1st?
Carolina Hurricanes v Chicago Blackhawks
Carolina Hurricanes v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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The New Jersey Devils want to make the team better through free agency. They traded John Marino to give them cap space and traded Alexander Holtz to open up another roster spot. However, they are not nearly done. Let's take a look at some of the pieces the Devils could target today.

Brett Pesce
GP: 70 G: 3 A: 10 PTS: 13

After the rumor about Brett Pesce caught fire, the Devils have moved on from John Marino on the right side, so this one looks as close to a sure thing as possible. Pesce has some good size to him at 6'3 and is above 200 pounds, but most importantly, he brings the element that everyone knows and needs, which is A+ defending. He is one of the best shut-down defensemen in the entire NHL, and his hockey IQ when defending is top-notch. He can take a lot of the hard minutes, kill penalties, and let the more offensive guys that this team has in Hamilton, Hughes, do their things and not have it kill the team.

He is coming off a contract making 4 million a season, and the expected raise is $5.5-6 million a year, and it will be long-term for the 29-year-old. All that being said this is a perfect signing for the Devils. He is one of those guys whose play style will allow him to age like a fine wine on the ice, and he should be having great seasons near age 35, much like Andy Greene did.

Nikita Zadorov
Gp: 75 G: 6 A: 14 PTS: 20

Nikita Zadorov is 6'6 and 235 lbs with the mean streak that this team needs. It is obvious why. He is the definition of hard to play against, skates very well for his size, and would make this team's defense go from one of the worst in the league to one of the best with a returning Dougie Hamilton and signed Pesce. He is left handed, the weak side for the Devils, and he is very interested in staying somewhere long-term after being on four different teams since 2020.

Rumors flying around have said that he turned down $5.5 million for six seasons in Vancouver, so the offer he is looking for probably starts at 6 million, but whatever the team pays, it should be very happy about it with all the different things he brings to the table.