The New Jersey Devils are in a position to be both buyers and sellers by the trade deadline on March 21. They have only a few unrestricted free agents (UFA) at the end of 2021-22: Jimmy Vesey, Jon Gillies, P.K. Subban, and Mason Geertsen.
General manager (GM) Tom Fitzgerald recently informed Subban that he would not be offered a new contract. “I sat down with P.K. yesterday, and we talked about uncertainty and the deadline and that we’re not at a spot where we’re looking to extend him at this point,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s done a lot for the community here and the organization. But I told him, ‘On the last day, somebody may lose a right-shot D and may call me, and if the move makes sense for the New Jersey Devils and makes sense for you to potentially have a chance to win, I have to do what’s best for the organization,’” (from ‘LeBrun: Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald discusses P.K. Subban, Damon Severson and his team’s future,’ The Athletic, 3/7/22).
The Devils are not expected to make many trades by March 21, but here’s a look at the organization’s last five trade deadlines, including the best and worst deadline deals throughout the team’s history.
Devils’ Trade Deadline Deals the Last Five Seasons
The Devils traded Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to the New York Islanders for A.J. Greer, Mason Jobst, a 2021 first-round pick, and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft on April 7. The Washington Capitals traded Jonas Siegenthaler to the Devils for a conditional third-round selection in the 2021 Draft on April 11. During the April 12 deadline, the Edmonton Oilers received Dmitri Kulikov from the Devils for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 Draft.
Siegenthaler has done well with the Devils during 2021-22 specifically on the penalty kill (PK). He is the team’s best stay-at-home defenseman and last year’s trade has turned out to be a bargain for the franchise. The Islanders were buyers, which is why they traded for Palmieri and Zajac close to the deadline.
Palmieri was a reliable offensive contributor for the Devils during his five-plus years with the organization. Zajac spent his entire career with the Devils up until the trade. He was a durable forward during 11 of his years with the Devils playing all or nearly all of the 82 games during a season. He played all 48 games in the lockout-shortened year of 2012-13.
Before the Feb. 24 deadline, the Devils traded Andy Greene to the Islanders for David Quenneville and a second-round pick in the 2021 Draft on Feb. 16. Greene was another dependable defenseman throughout his thirteen-plus seasons with the Devils. In exchange for Nolan Foote and a conditional first-round pick in the 2020 Draft, the Devils traded Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning on the same day. Coleman would be a part of a Lightning franchise, which won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2019-20 and 2020-21. His strength is as a defensive forward as he contributed to the Devils’ PK during his tenure with New Jersey.
During the deadline, the Buffalo Sabres acquired Wayne Simmonds from the Devils for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2021 Draft. Simmonds did not play a full season during his brief time with the Devils. He had the best years of his career when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. He is a physical forward with offensive skills.
The Devils traded Fredrik Claesson, Janne Kuokkanen, and a conditional fourth-round selection in the 2020 Draft from the Carolina Hurricanes for Sami Vatanen. The Devils received Zane McIntyre from the Vancouver Canucks for Louis Domingue during the deadline.
The Dallas Stars acquired Ben Lovejoy from the Devils for Connor Carrick and a third-round pick in the 2019 Draft on Feb. 23. During the Feb. 25 deadline, the Devils received a fifth-round selection in the 2022 Draft from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Keith Kinkaid. The Boston Bruins traded for Marcus Johansson and sent two draft picks – a second-round selection in 2019 and a fourth-round pick in 2020 to the Devils. Johansson had the most stability during his career with the Capitals, where he spent seven seasons. He has been with five teams since the end of the 2016-17 year.
The Devils acquired Michael Grabner from the New York Rangers for Yegor Rykov and a second-round pick in the 2018 Draft on Feb. 22. Grabner played for all three NHL teams in the New York metropolitan area during his career. The trade between the Devils and the Rangers was the first made between the rivals. He only played for the Devils during the remainder of the 2017-18 year before finishing his career with the Arizona Coyotes. The Devils took part in one trade during the Feb. 26 deadline: they acquired Patrick Maroon from the Oilers in exchange for J.D. Dudek and a third-round pick in the 2019 draft.
The Devils were involved in three deals on the deadline of Mar. 1. The Blue Jackets traded Dalton Prout to the Devils for Kyle Quincey. The Devils acquired a 2017 sixth-round draft pick from the Nashville Predators for Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. The Devils received Shane Harper from the Florida Panthers for Reece Scarlett.
Devils’ Five Best Deadline Trades
Stastny Acquired From Nordiques
The Quebec Nordiques traded veteran Peter Stastny to the Devils for Craig Wolanin and future considerations (Randy Velischek) on March 6, 1990. Stastny played well in over three seasons with the Devils. The Devils were on the cusp of becoming an elite team during his time with the franchise.
Devils Trade for Veteran Andreychuk
The Devils acquired Dave Andreychuk from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 1996 second-round draft pick on March 13, 1996. The Maple Leafs also received a fourth-round selection in the 1998 Draft. The veteran forward was a reliable, offensive contributor with the Devils for over three seasons. Andreychuk was a part of the franchise when they had top players such as Martin Brodeur, Bill Guerin, Scott Niedermayer, Bobby Holik, to name a few. Andreychuk, the leader in NHL power-play goals until Alex Ovechkin surpassed his total, contributed to the Devils’ power play (PP) during his tenure.
Nemchinov: From Rival to Ally
Sergei Nemchinov was a member of the 1993-94 Stanley Cup-winning Rangers team that defeated the Devils in the memorable Eastern Conference Final. He was with the Islanders during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons before the trade to the Devils on March 22, 1999. The Devils acquired him for a fourth-round pick in the 1999 Draft. The defenseman was a part of the Devils team that won their second Stanley Cup championship in 2000.
Mogilny Arrives in Trade With Canucks
The Devils traded for another proven veteran in Alexander Mogilny on March 14, 2000. He was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson. Morrison went on to have a good career, but Mogilny contributed during his brief time with the Devils.
Mogilny had four goals and three assists in 23 playoff games in the 1999-2000 playoffs. He was a part of the Devils’ second Stanley Cup-winning team. He led the team with 43 goals in 2000-01 and contributed five goals and 11 assists in 25 playoff games that season. The forward was nearly a member of a back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning franchise but the Devils lost in seven games to the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final.
Langenbrunner and Nieuwendyk Traded From Stars
Both the Devils and Stars received quality players in a trade between the franchises on March 19, 2002. The Devils received Jamie Langenbrunner and Joe Nieuwendyk for Jason Arnott, Randy McKay, and a first-round pick in the 2002 Draft. Langenbrunner and Nieuwendyk contributed to the team winning its third Stanley Cup during the 2002-03 season.
Langenbrunner remained with the Devils until mid-way through the 2010-11 season when he was traded back to the Stars for a conditional pick that became Coleman. The Devils would have received a second-round pick in the 2012 Draft if the Stars had re-signed Langenbrunner after July 1, 2011, which they did not. He is one of the top players in the nearly 40-year history of the organization.
Five Worst Deadline Trades
Fetisov Traded to Red Wings
Vyacheslav Fetisov was a member of the early 1990s Devils teams that blossomed into a contender. The Detroit Red Wings traded for the defenseman in exchange for a third-round pick in the 1995 Draft on April 3, 1995. The Devils defeated the Red Wings in the 1995 Stanley Cup Final. However, the defenseman won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Red Wings during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. He was a good depth defenseman during his career.
Housley With Devils For a Few Months
The Devils acquired Phil Housley from the Calgary Flames in a multi-player deal on Feb. 26, 1996. The Devils traded for him and Dan Keczmer in exchange for Tommy Albelin, Cale Hulse, and Jocelyn Lemieux. Housley played in 22 games for the Devils (with only one goal) before he signed with the Washington Capitals as a free agent during the following offseason. The Devils acquired the defenseman with the hope he would help the team make the playoffs. However, the organization failed to qualify for the postseason a year after winning their first Stanley Cup.
Gilmour Does Not Help Devils Win a Cup
GM Lou Lamoriello, who developed a reputation for acquiring established veteran players at the deadline, acquired Doug Gilmour. The Devils traded Jason Smith, Steve Sullivan, and the rights to Alyn McCauley to the Maple Leafs for Dave Ellett, Gilmour, and a third-round pick in the 1999 Draft on Feb. 25, 1997, and the Devils were in contention to win their second championship in three seasons after the acquisition.
However, the Devils fell short of winning the Stanley Cup while Gilmour was on the team. Sullivan had a good career with the Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Predators, and Pittsburgh Penguins. There may not be a consensus among Devils fans that this was one of the worst deals in their history. However, it is an example of Lamoriello acquiring a proven player who could not help the team win a championship.
Panthers Trade Kozlov to Devils
The Panthers traded Viktor Kozlov to the Devils for Christian Berglund and Victor Uchevatov on March 1, 2004. The Devils won their third Stanley Cup the season before and the team attempted to make another championship run during the 2004 Playoffs. In less than two seasons with the Devils, Kozlov did not have the impact that he had with the Panthers. He had 14 goals and 17 assists in 80 regular season games with New Jersey. The Devils did not advance far in the playoffs during his tenure with the franchise – they lost to the Flyers during the Conference Quarterfinal series in 2003-04 before losing to the Hurricanes in the Conference Semi-final series in the 2005-06 season.
Ruutu Acquired During Rebuild
The Carolina Hurricanes traded Tuomo Ruutu to the Devils for Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third-round pick in the 2017 Draft on Mar. 5, 2014. Ruutu was with the Devils for over two seasons but his best days were behind him. He had a few good years with the Blackhawks and Hurricanes before this deal and the Devils were the last NHL franchise he played for.
The Devils hope to be back in the playoff conversation a year from now, which could make them buyers by the 2022-23 deadline. They have built up a young core and would surely like to acquire veteran players in preparation for another run at a Stanley Cup in the future. Fitzgerald may not be active before this year’s deadline but a better season in 2022-23 should change that in the future.