New Jersey Devils trade once prized prospect for another with Minnesota Wild

The New Jersey Devils announced they have traded former third-round pick Graeme Clarke for the Minnesota Wild forward Adam Beckman. What are the Devils getting in the former prized prospect?
Minnesota Wild v Anaheim Ducks
Minnesota Wild v Anaheim Ducks / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils kept the offseason trades going on Friday morning, sending top-five prospect Graeme Clarke to the Minnesota Wild for Adam Beckman. Clarke and Beckman are both AHL players who are 23 years old and consider their release as their best attribute. It seems like the Devils no longer believed in Clarke's upside and wanted to go after someone who could possible impact the NHL with a bottom-six role.

Back in the 2021 preseason, Beckman seemed like he was poised to make an NHL impact sooner rather than later. However, he was never able to become the goal scorer it seemed like he would be. At the AHL level, he had 33 points last season and 36 the year prior with the Iowa Wild. He did score 24 goals two years ago, but he did not translate that to the NHL level. He has 23 NHL games to his name and zero NHL goals.

Many will look at Beckman as a better version of Clarke with a shorter injury history, but there was clearly frustration in Minnesota. Maybe Clarke just wasn't in the Devils plans either, and this was a way to get two talented players a chance to get an opportunity elsewhere.

Beckman will get a chance to earn a spot on the NHL roster, but it was probably as likely as Clarke making the final roster. His skillset hasn't translated just yet.

That might be because Beckman played too much in the AHL. We've seen this with talented players before. Getting used to the AHL play style doesn't always help a prospect develop because it's lack of speed is hard to adjust to when moving to the incredibly fast NHL. That seems to be part of the issue, as Beckman himself said he was working on his "complete game." (This gives us the worst Alex Holtz flashbacks.)

This trade still feels strange, as it seems the Devils traded for a guy with a slightly higher upside but a much lower floor. Beckman might never make the NHL. Clarke might be in the same boat, but he was at least able to adjust his game a little better and hadn't had as much leeway in the NHL.