One Trade to Fix New Jersey Devils Goaltending for Good

The New Jersey Devils have circled Jacob Markstrom, Juuse Saros, and others to fix their awful goaltending. However, only one move sets them up for success for good.

Boston Bruins v Calgary Flames
Boston Bruins v Calgary Flames / Derek Leung/GettyImages

Preface: This is a pretty unlikely scenario. Jeremy Swayman is an excellent young goalie who has developed through the Bruins' system. But even if there is a 1% chance, the New Jersey Devils should be all over it.

Jeremy Swayman is a fantastic goalie.

He started out his career in the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede. After being drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, he attended the University of Maine, where he would play for three years before making his NHL Debut in the second round of the playoffs against the New York Islanders. He bounced up and down the minors and the NHL in 2021-22 but still ended up playing 41 games in the big leagues. It was the year after when he became a full 1A/1B goalie with Linus Ullmark, and the pair haven't looked back since.

Over his 121 NHL games, he has posted an average of 2.31 GAA and a .920 save percentage—just ridiculous stuff. And it's not just luck, either. Over the last 3 seasons that he has been a full-time NHLer, his GSAx (goals saved above expected) has never been lower than 4.2 xG, according to Moneypuck. That number has only improved, as Swayman posted 24.0 GSAx in 2022-23, and 14.1 GSAx so far in 2023-24.

He has a moderately big frame and moves quite well laterally. According to goalie expert Kevin Woodley, Swayman has fantastic coordination techniques, in coordination with his physical tools. This is the goalie that you go all out for.

So what is a offer than comes close to a value of a goaltender like Swayman? Here are a couple ideas:

Devils Trade

Boston Bruins v New Jersey Devils
Boston Bruins v New Jersey Devils / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

This is a hefty price, but it's one the Devils should be willing to pay. While you lose two quality wingers in Alexander Holtz and Dawson Mercer and a decent depth defenseman in Kevin Bahl, you are gaining one of the best goalies in the game. This package makes Boston younger as well and aids in their ongoing retool. The Bruins need to be blown away to say goodbye to Swayman, and this deal would do it.

Devils Trade

Michigan v Michigan State
Michigan v Michigan State / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages

This is more of a futures-based package; if Boston doesn't want to deal with Bahl's and Mercer's potential extensionso that the Devils cans, this is a way to maximize a return. You could add Grtisyuk's rights to this as well to even it out even more, but again, this is a trade that is worthwhile. It keeps the NHL roster intact so the Devils can keep the Cup window as open as possible for as long as possible.

So, as you can see, it will cost a pretty penny to acquire Swayman, but this type of move can vault the Devils into true contention. With him in the net, the Devils may be able to navigate the inexperience of the youth in the defense core and shore up the mistakes that have occurred this season. Swayman is the elite goalie that the Devils have needed this year.