Red Hot Devils Keep Pace In Metro. Is More Help On The Way?

The Devils keep winning as the trade deadline approaches and moves start to be made around the league.

The Devils have 7 of their last 10 games, are currently in second place in the Metropolitan division, and sit just three points out of first place with 26 games left to play. As other playoff contenders, including the likely first round opponent Rangers, start to add players for the playoff run, fans are wondering if and when New Jersey will make a big trade. But the players that are currently in the Garden State are doing a great job making the case that they don’t need any help and the team is built to win as is.

For long stretches of the year, mainly the month of December, the Devils were relying almost exclusively on Jack Hughes to produce the offense with a little bit of help from Nico Hischier and and Jesper Bratt. As of late though, the Devils have started to see more production from other players in the top three lines. In the last three games, Dawson Mercer has four goals. Yegor Sharangovich has 4 points in the last four games, and the same is true for Erik Haula. The Devils have the seventh most goals in the NHL this year, and the most in the Metropolitan division. They are also one of five teams in the league right now with four 50 point scorers. This goes to show that even without adding another forward, the Devils forwards can compete with any other forward group in the NHL.

With that being said, other playoff bound teams in the Eastern Conference are using the trade market to improve their clubs even further and New Jersey should be looking to do the same. The cross river rival Rangers added Vladamir Taresenko and the Maple Leafs added Ryan O’Reily. Arguably the biggest name and best player available before the trade deadline is Timo Meier. There have been rumors swirling online for weeks that the Devils are heavily interested and favored to land Meier before March 3rd. However, if the asking price for Meier remains too high, or Meier’s current upper body injury proves to be somewhat serious, the Devils could go out and try to acquire Patrick Kane from Chicago. The 34 year old Kane has 14 goals and 41 points so far this year, including a hat trick in his last game. However, there are some issues with the Devils acquiring Kane. First off, Kane is smaller and less physical than Meier and the Devils could really use some more size and strength in their lineup. Additionally, Kane has a cap hit of $10.5 million so the Devils would likely need to workout a three team trade to make the money work out, much like the Leafs did to acquire O’Reily. The benefits of adding Kane include his proven skill and ability to score goals in the playoffs, as well as his experience playing in 136 career playoff games, including three Stanley Cup wins. For a young team like the Devils that veteran leadership could be huge in the playoffs. Furthermore, Kane was publicly upset the Rangers added Taresenko instead of him so if the Devils bring Kane in, he could have little extra motivation to make the Rangers regret not getting him by eliminating them from the playoffs.

I think the Devils have a great opportunity with a young core to make a deep playoff run this year and Tom Fitzgerald should do anything he can to improve the team for this year. They are doing great now, but adding another elite scoring threat could put them right there with Carolina and Boston as favorites to win the Eastern Conference. I also belive the Devils could benefit from adding another depth forward such as Max Domi to make the team tougher and harder to play against come playoff time. The Devils have a deep prospect pool to deal from as well as plenty of draft picks. As Tom Fitzgerald said at the beginning of the year, why wait? This team has a chance to make a deep run, so they should go for it. I can’t wait to see how this team finishes out the season and how far they can make it in the playoffs. You can follow me on Twitter at PatBoooooth.

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