As the trade deadline approaches, Damon Severson has emerged as a rumored target for teams in the playoff hunt. General manager (GM) Tom Fitzgerald mentioned the significance the defenseman has for the Devils, and that he would need to be getting value in return that helps the team both in the present and future.
“No, I mean, Damon has a lot of value to us, he’s a very good player. Right-shot defencemen don’t grow on trees. I don’t know what he’s going to want (on his next contract). We have his services for another year at least. I can tell you, moving Damon Severson, it would have to be a really good package that helps us now and in the future. But I haven’t talked to anybody about him,” (from ‘LeBrun: Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald discusses P.K. Subban, Damon Severson and his team’s future,’ The Athletic, 3/7/22).
Severson has one more year left on his contract. A team with an interest in trading for him by the deadline has to have him on the roster for the 2022-23 season. Let’s take a look at some trade destinations for the Devils defenseman.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings have multiple defensemen on injured reserve (IR) in Drew Doughty (undisclosed), Matt Roy (lower-body), and Michael Anderson (upper-body). It is unknown when they will return to play for the Kings. Alexander Edler and Olli Maatta are the two most experienced defensemen playing at the moment and the team needs to strengthen its depth at the position.
Severson averages a lot of ice time for the Devils and he would improve the Kings’ depth on the blueline. Doughty, 32, is not getting any younger and has been relied upon as the face of the Kings’ defense for a decade. Severson would add another experienced veteran presence who is capable of logging a substantial amount of minutes on any given night.
Severson’s total time on ice (TOI) is more than any Kings defenseman has totaled this year. He can contribute offensively and be useful on the Kings’ power-play. The minutes he could tally would be valuable for them to have especially in the postseason when no player is 100 percent healthy due to the grind of the regular season.
Based on Fitzgerald’s comments about considering a player that would help out the Devils now and in the future, he would be looking at the young players on the Kings. Sean Durzi, Tobias Bjornfot, and Jordan Spence are three Kings’ defensemen that he could inquire about. Any one of the three has the potential to help out the Devils.
Vegas Golden Knights
Injuries continue to plague the Vegas Golden Knights’ roster. Alec Martinez (upper-body), Jake Bischoff (undisclosed), and Brayden McNabb (upper-body) are defensemen currently on IR. Martinez and Bischoff have been on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) for some time too.
Severson would take some of the burdens off of Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore. Pietrangelo leads all Golden Knights defensemen in ice-time during five-on-five and the penalty-kill, and trails only Theodore on the power-play. Acquiring Severson would give the Golden Knights another experienced blueliner.
With Severson under contract for next year, his presence would allow GM Kelly McCrimmon to take offers for Martinez during the offseason. The injured defenseman has a $5.25 million in average annual value (AAV) contract this year and for the next two seasons. The Golden Knights are strapped for cap space and he needs to be creative in order to create space for the next few seasons. It will be tough since six players have modified no-trade clauses (M-NTC) in their contracts and two have no-movement clauses (NMC). Martinez has an M-NTC with a 16-team no-trade list this year, a 12-team no-trade list in 2022-23, and an eight-team no-trade list during the 2023-24 season.
Fitzgerald could ask McCrimmon about Nicolas Hague (23) and Daniil Miromanov (24) in regards to acquiring one of them for Severson. Hague has played more than Miromanov this season for the Golden Knights. Both appear to be depth defensemen so perhaps he would add a second-round draft pick to the deal for Severson and a fourth-round pick.
St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues are a team that may be looking to increase its defensive depth behind Justin Faulk, Torey Krug, and Colton Parayko in preparation for the playoffs. Severson would be a reliable defenseman to round out their top four. A recent rumor involves the Blues having an interest in acquiring Philadelphia Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov.
GM Doug Armstrong did not pursue a trade for Ben Chiarot due to the Montreal Canadiens’ asking price for the defenseman. It is possible what Fitzgerald wants in return for Severson is also too much for the Blues to part with. However, if he offers a prospect and a second-round pick for Severson, Fitzgerald may have interest in the deal.
The Edmonton Oilers are a team that has been rumored to be looking to make changes. GM Ken Holland may be looking to add to his defense. It remains to be seen if Tyson Barrie will remain with the Oilers through the duration of his contract as he has struggled offensively this year. Severson could represent another option for them if they are looking for a defenseman who is skilled offensively.
Trading Barrie for P.K. Subban is a possible deal the Oilers and Devils could make. However, Severson will not be a free agent at the end of the season like Subban. He has a lower AAV in his contract than Subban does, which would benefit the Oilers. Severson would also provide the Oilers with a defenseman who can be used on the power-play and the penalty-kill. A possible trade could involve Barrie and a prospect or second-round draft pick for Severson and a third-round pick.
The consensus is that Severson will not be traded by the Devils as the deadline approaches. He was their top defenseman when Dougie Hamilton was out with a broken jaw. If a playoff team does indeed acquire Severson by the deadline, they would be receiving a very good depth defenseman in return.
The Kings or Golden Knights would be getting a defenseman who can step in and make a positive impact for either one of the injury-riddled franchises. The Blues or Oilers would be acquiring a player who would increase the depth of either team’s blueline. GM Fitzgerald recognizes the value Severson possesses for the Devils as he has stepped up for the team at even-strength, on the power-play, and the penalty kill this year, so he will not just be giving him away at the deadline.