When the status quo is no longer cutting it and your goal differential is still sitting at minus eight, the “T” word begins to rear its head. The “T” of course meaning trade. Recently, New Jersey Devils President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello, has suggested that if the right player or fit comes along, the Devils would entertain such an offer. A different tone from earlier in the season and one that infers that Lamoriello believes that this group has had more than enough time to gel and at this point, the club needs an impact scorer.
No there wasn’t going to be a scorer like Ilya Kovalchuk or Zach Parise on the summer free agent market, they don’t grow on trees. While Jaromir Jagr and Michael Ryder have made up for the output of players like David Clarkson and Petr Sykora, the team still needs a consistent scorer to lift the team and to get other players going. Heck, given the jumble of teams in the Eastern Conference, having a player who can carry you for two weeks down the stretch, may make all of the difference in the world.
So which players could be available and within the Devils’ price range? What player could they obtain, who would give them more than say Matt D’Agostini or Steve Sullivan last year but also wouldn’t mean having to rob Peter to pay Paul in the process? What five players could make an impact, when it comes to filling up the net for the Devils?
Brad Boyes (Florida Panthers):
Boyes has always been tricky to figure out. He did fill it up 43 times, once upon a time for the St. Louis Blues. He can be streaky but he’s not afraid to shoot the puck. Boyes has 108 shots on goal, which would rank second on the Devils. His 12 goals lead the Panthers. While a stat like this may be more for an elite team that can afford such a luxury, Boyes does have six shootout goals, which is tied for second most in the NHL. Plus, what’s another Panther in the fold?
Jiri Hudler (Calgary Flames):
Hudler has a Stanley Cup on his resume, from his time with the Detroit Red Wings. On the season, Hudler has 39 points, which would tie for the lead on the Devils. Adding Hudler would give the Devils another player from the Czech Republic and perhaps finally a consistent center for Patrik Elias. Hudler’s high for goals in a season is 25, which he potted for the Wings two seasons ago.
Patric Hornqvist (Nashville Predators):
Finally, that young Swedish forward the Devils are looking for. Hornqvist gives the Devils youth and potential. His 148 shots and five power play goals would lead all New Jersey forwards. He did net 30 goals, back in the 2009-10 season. Hornqvist might make for an interesting fit.
Matt Moulson (Buffalo Sabres):
Yes the Sabres just traded for him this season but are they building around him, is he staying there for the long run? Moulson is familiar with the market and scored 36 goals for the New York Islanders two years ago. Moulson has 15 goals on the year and his eight power play markers would give New Jersey a lift. Moulson isn’t afraid to let ‘er rip either.
Mike Cammalleri (Calgary Flames):
May not have quite the defensive commitment the Devils are looking for but he did net 39 goals for the Flames, back in 2008-09. Much like Boyes, a high risk/reward player. Cammalleri did go on a tear in the playoffs for the Montreal Canadiens, during the 2009-10 season. Cammalleri and his 13 goals would give the Devils some sniping potential.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.