The ultimate offseason checklist for the New Jersey Devils

With a less-than-stellar 2023-24 campaign, the New Jersey Devils will look to regroup and bounce back next season, so the summer of 2024 will be pivotal.
Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils / Adam Hunger/GettyImages
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Keep building the prospects pool

Last season, the Devils were a playoff-bound organization, and we can at least say they stuck around for most of 2023-24, even if they were rarely completely in the race. But this team is also talented enough to turn things around fast, and they are young enough to have the potential for long-term success. 

Should that be the case, Fitzgerald not only needs to strike gold for each early draft pick he has coming up over the next few seasons; he must also keep his high-end prospects in the system. For the latter, it’s all about having a player in the lower leagues or overseas available to make that trade at a future deadline should the Devils be competitive. 

Then there is the NHL Draft. While it’s tough to see the Devils landing the top pick for the upcoming lottery, it’s important now more than ever to keep the pool stocked with potentially game-changing talent. Doing so will give the Devils more leverage with trades, ideally starting in 2024-25. But if the right coach and players are in place, we could see this team becoming perennial buyers at future deadlines. 

Stocking the prospects pool with high-end talent is the easiest way to ‘buy’ the right talent if they are in a position to add another piece or two to hopefully a winning organization. This doesn’t mean Fitzgerald needs to ‘sell’ every prospect - that would be reckless - but a strong pipeline plus a good hockey team could foreshadow a future blockbuster deal when it’s needed.