New Jersey Devils should unite Jacob Markstrom with Nikita Zadorov

The New Jersey Devils finally secured their starting goalie, but they lost Kevin Bahl in the process. They should look at Markstrom's former teammate Nikita Zadorov as a replacement.
Oct 11, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) and defenseman Nikita Zadorov (16) celebrate win over the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) and defenseman Nikita Zadorov (16) celebrate win over the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports / Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
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The New Jersey Devils made a big trade on Wednesday. They sent Kevin Bahl and a 2025 first-round pick (top ten protected) to the Calgary Flames in exchange for goaltender Jacob Markstrom. New Jersey made a great trade here. They now have their high-end goaltending solution (for now) while keeping the 10th overall pick in the NHL Draft, top prospect Seamus Casey, or Alexander Holtz. 

Now, Markstrom will be the starter and Jake Allen will be the backup. Neither of these guys is likely to win the Vezina Trophy but they are both massive upgrades to the mess that New Jersey dealt with in 2023-24. 

For this to work out to its full potential, the Devils need help on defense. They have a couple of nice pieces on the blue line, but they’d like to replace Kevin Bahl with an upgrade. 

The New Jersey Devils have options when it comes to making additions

One option to consider is Vancouver Canucks left-hander Nikita Zadorov. He is a free agent this offseason and spent last season split between the Calgary Flames and Canucks. Before that, he had stints with the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, and Chicago Blackhawks. 

Before being traded to Vancouver this past season, Zadorov was a teammate of Markstrom. Now would be a great time to see them reunite in a different shade of red. 

Zadorov was what some folks might call a “late bloomer” in his NHL career. Now, he’s looking to cash in with a team looking for help at that position. This isn't a player that is going to come in and run a power play while lighting it up offensively. They have Dougie Hamilton, Simon Nemec, and Luke Hughes for that.

What they need Zadorov for is to play some physical defense on every shift. He has proven that he can defend well with a little bit of a snarl to his game. The goalie and the defenseman coming over at the same time would make the transition to a new team a lot better for everyone.

New Jersey already became a better team by adding this goalie. They'd become even better if they found a way to get a big defender like Zadorov to come join his old teammate.

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