New Jersey Devils welcome back former forward to surprisingly large deal

The New Jersey Devils have bolstered their bottom six by signing former player Stefan Noesen to a three-year deal. The price of the contract came in higher than most expected.
New Jersey Devils v Carolina Hurricanes
New Jersey Devils v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages
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The New Jersey Devils continued spending on the first day of NHL Free Agency, signing bottom-six winger Stefan Noesen to a three-year deal. This comes after the Devils already reportedly signed Brett Pesce to a six-year deal and Brandon Dillon to a three-year deal. It was a big day for the Devils who did well to sure up their defense while also avoiding the monstrous contracts some of the forwards received.

However, this deal is much more expensive than some Devils fans would expect. To be fair, Noesen has grown into a very valuable player since he left New Jersey in 2019. He wasn't even to make the Pittsburgh Penguins full time in that first season post-New Jersey, spending most of their year with their AHL affiliate.

Noesen then signed with the San Jose Sharks (again, playing in both the NHL and AHL for two years). He then went to the Toronto Maple Leafs (same) before finally finding a role in the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes.

With the Canes, Noesen has been great based on expectations. He's recorded 73 total points over the last two seasons, by far his career highs. Last season, he finished with 14 goals and 23 assists. He also had four goals in each of the last two playoff runs.

New Jersey Devils give former player Stefan Noesen a surprising contract.

Noesen has had success on successful Devils teams. In 2017-18, Noesen had his first 20+ point season in New Jersey, putting up 27 points en route to the postseason. He also scored a big goal in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring the game-winner in the Devils' only win of the series.

He was able to make this career turnaround count. Not only did he get a solidified role in the NHL for the next three years, but he got $2.75 million per season.

Maybe it's just us looking at the impact Noesen had with the Devils, which was half a decade ago now, but this feels like a huge contract to give him. He does play the way the Devils want to play, getting into dirty areas and winning board battles, but he is still a 31-year-old bottom-six forward with a limited ceiling. There's a possibility that he was just a product of the Hurricanes system.

This also pretty much solidifies that the Devils aren't bringing in any big names to play in the top six. They tried to get Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Marchessault earlier Monday, but they were knocked out by huge contracts the Nashville Predators gave them.

This Noesen deal follows the analytics, which Noesen's has been great. The charts show he is a very impactful player in his small role.

We shall see if this is exactly what the Devils need, and with a rising salary cap, its actual impact will be less each year, but this seems like a contract that could be regrettable in time. Hopefully we're wrong, but it is a lot of money who was fighting for his NHL career three years ago. For now, we welcome back Stefan Noesen with open arms.

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