Only One Goalie Makes Sense For New Jersey Devils On Trade Market

The New Jersey Devils have plenty of options to trade for, but with their current place in the standings, only one makes sense for the price.
Seattle Kraken v New York Rangers
Seattle Kraken v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils need a goalie. With Vitek Vanecek not only having his worst season ever but now being on injured reserve, the Devils have been forced to play Nico Daws seven games in a row. Their choice is to play either Akira Schmid, who has gotten worse as the season goes, or Isaac Poulter, who just signed his first NHL deal a few weeks ago. It's not a great place to be.

A saving grace could come in a trade. Many are pushing for a Jacob Markstrom deal, and others are hoping to go for the biggest piece in Juuse Saros. The Devils definitely need a goalie for the future, and Saros and Markstrom help them now and have term on their contracts. It would be great to bring them in, but the price is going to be insane. We're talking Dawson Mercer or Simon Nemec going the other way insane.

Where the Devils are in the standings, a major move seems improbable. They just haven't proven in the past few weeks that a goalie would change this team from a tweener to a contender. Earlier in the season, these deals might have made sense. The Devils were playing better in other aspects of their game, and they had more time to win games.

At this point, the Devils should look for a stopgap. We're not talking about like when the Devils got Andrew Hammond in 2022. They need to get a player who's at least somewhat good. Many have brought up players like the Sharks Kaapo Kahkonen and the Predators Kevin Lankinen. Those players might work, but there's one that actually fits even better.

The Seattle Kraken's Chris Driedger has been stuck in the AHL this season because of the rise of Joey Daccord and the contract of Philipp Grubauer. The Kraken are trying to get back into the playoffs this season, and Daccord is their best shot. That has Driedger stuck playing for the Coachella Valley Firebirds.

He's been really good in the AHL, posting a .915 save percentage. What's really great is he's had two callups to the NHL and he's been just fine. He had one great effort against the Calgary Flames in December, stopping 37 of 38 shots. In his return to the NHL in January, he had a poor effort against the Rangers, allowing four goals on 22 shots against. Still, it averages out to a .917 save percentage.

On top of all this, Driedger is on the final year of his contract. The Devils could get him for the stretch run to circumvent Nico Daws and Vanecek when he returns. He might even usurp Vanecek, allowing the Devils to either send him to the AHL or make him a third option that doesn't dress on a nightly basis. It makes a lot of sense if the Devils want to wait until the offseason to go for the big fish.