Who Is on New Jersey’s “Nobody Wants Crew?”

New Jersey isn’t out of the playoff picture. They are only eight points out of playoff contention with their 3-0 win over Arizona last night, and they have a huge matchup with Boston coming up on Friday, which may decide the fate of their season. Regardless of what happens with the playoff picture though, New Jersey need to move along some of the age on this team at the trade deadline. The problem is, it will be very difficult to sell off some players that realistically no other team has interest in. So to shed some light on who they are, here are three members of the New Jersey Devils who nobody will trade for.

#3 Ryane Clowe

(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Ryane Clowe used to be a player that could bring a physical element to the game while being skilled enough to permit top-6 minutes. Every team in the league covets a player like this. When David Clarkson jumped ship to Toronto, in theory, Clowe looked like a great, if not better replacement for the one-time 30-goal scorer. Unfortunately his stint with New Jersey has been tarnished by concussion problems, which has also ruled Clowe out from returning this season.

Now obviously this is a sad story considering the player Clowe used to be. However, the fact remains that there isn’t a team in the league that would trade for the 32-year old forward. In two seasons with New Jersey Clowe has only played in 56 games while registering eight goals and 30 points. He was also a minus 11 rating.

On top of his underwhelming stats, Clowe also has a cap-hit of $4.85 million spanning over the next three seasons. Add in four concussions over the past three seasons, and a trade would mean nothing more than a salary dump for New Jersey. The real question though isn’t if he will be traded, but if he retires before then.

#2 Tuomo Ruutu

Tuomo Ruutu is simply worn down. For years in Carolina, Ruutu was a guy that was good for at least 30+ points a season. He even reached the 50-point mark twice with his career-high at 57 points. His game was a lot like that of Ryane Clowe where he could play in your top-6, but would also fit nicely in a third or even fourth line role if needed.

At 32 years old, Ruutu has only played all 82 games in a season twice. Once being in his rookie season, and the other being the 10-11 season where he had his career-high in points. A bigger sign of wear and tear taking its toll on Rutuu is his points total over the past three seasons. Last year between Carolina and New Jersey, Ruutu only had 24 points in 76 games. This season Ruutu only has 11 points in 56 games.

The killer for trading Ruutu is the same problem as Clowe. He carries a cap-hit of $3.8 million, and has another year of his contract. At least for this season, the $3.8 million would be a tough sell, but manageable. However, the extra year on his contract will scare almost every team away from a trade. He’s worn down, not producing, and has an unfavorable contract; Ruutu won’t be going anywhere.

#1 Michael Ryder

Remember the days when Michael Ryder was scoring 30+ goals, over 60 points, and was actually relevant player? As crazy as it looks from his play this season, Ryder was a 30-goal scorer three times with his career high of 35 coming in the 11-12 season with the Dallas Stars. Ryder never cracked the 70-point mark, but was a solid player up until recently.

After the loss of Ilya Kovalchuk for reasons were all aware of, the Devils signed Ryder in hopes he could replace some of the goals lost from Kovy’s departure. In his first season with New Jersey, Ryder was as streaky as he’s ever been. There were points during the season where he’d score four or five in the same number of games. The problem is he then wouldn’t score for 10-15 games at a time, and sometimes even longer.

This season has been a disaster for Ryder. He has only scored six goals in 43 games, and 18 points in total. The worst part is that Ryder’s been a healthy scratch in all but one game since January 19th. The game Ryder played in was against Montreal where he took a crucial penalty, which the Canadians scored on. After that issue, it’s hard to imagine the Devils coaching staff reinserting Ryder in the lineup for a long time.

When it comes to Ryder potentially being traded, there’s hope, but not much. However, the one component Ryder has in his contractual favor is his deal ends after this season. Unlike Ruutu and Clowe, teams won’t have to worry about retaining Ryder for next year, which would make him a pure rental. On the other hand, teams won’t be in favor of his $3.5 million cap-hit. Teams up against the cap don’t have the financial flexibility to take in that kind of money, especially considering Ryder is playing terrible hockey at the age of 34. Regardless, out of the three players listed, Ryder would have the best chance of being moved because of his ability to score goals. It may not have worked out well between him and New Jersey, but Ryder could be a nice, under the radar ad for a playoff contender.

There are a couple of similarities between these three players. All of their cap-hits are high, they’re all under producing, and their ages are effecting their trade value. They would certainly be tough sells, but if GM Lou Lamoriello can find them new homes, it would be a huge burden off the Devils shoulders.

Who do you think won’t be traded on the Devils?

11 thoughts on “Who Is on New Jersey’s “Nobody Wants Crew?””

  1. Zubrus, Salvador, Zidlicky should be on the list as well. Salvador won’t play another game this season like Clowe.

    Lou should try to ship all the pending UFAs that have any trade value(Jagr, Zidlicky, Ryder) out of town and get some good prospects or high picks for the upcoming draft.

    Lou needs to stop trying to build a win-now-team with old free agents. That won’t happen, because the game changed and with the actual pace of the game this just doesn’T work anymore.

    • Thanks for the comment. I totally understand what your saying, Eventually the Devils need to trade away their UFAs and get something back. However, I have said in past articles that it just isn’t in Lou’s DNA to do something like that. Trust me, I’d love is Lou sucked it up for a season and tanked for McDavid but he’s just not like that as we all know.

      • We couldn’t tank this season, because our Goaltending is way too strong for proper tanking and due to the draft rules only the last placed team has a guarantee to get McDavid or Eichel. So there is almost no point in being 29th.

        We don’t need to rebuild, we just need to pick up some young talented forwards we can develop. Our defensive core is great with Green, Larsson, Severson and Gelinas as top 4 defenders. You will always find some bottom 6 defenders.
        But our forward group is way too old and simply not good enough.

        We will suck next season as well, but afterwards we should be fine, IF Lou steps up his drafting.

        You can get decent players in later rounds as well, just have a look at Tampa’s 2nd line(late 2nd, 7th and undrafted)…

  2. i would say the whole team is on the nobody wants crew. bald louie has done a bang up job developing players that have some value (lol) while giving out prohibitive contracts to a bunch of washed up has beens. he can’t even find someone to coach this bunch of losers. at least he’s saving oates and stevens from the embarrassment of being behind the bench by themselves. he looks so out of place there. whatever good oates and stevens could do is negated by his outstanding coaching ability. the guys who bought the team should look long and hard at the disaster this team has become under bald louies genius. his time has passed. the trap is dead. they would be smart to ‘retire’ him in favor of someone more in tune with the way today’s game is played.

    • Thanks for the comment. I would tend to disagree with that everyone is on the Nobody Wants Crew. Adam Larsson and Andy Greene have been fantastic. Cory Schneider is a top-10 goalie in the NHL, and at least we have guys like Cammy and Henrique to build around. I know I’m pulling at straws here, but since Lou isn’t going to tank anytime soon, we kinda have to embrace what we have here whether we like it or not.

      • being a ranger fan i , for one, would love it if the devils had a stronger team. it would be great for new york if there were 3 power house teams in the area. the last ranger-islander game was sensational. wouldn’t it be great if all the games between these 3 were like that one? i know most ranger and islander fans would disagree with me but i like the intensity of the games when the teams are strong. i hope bald louie starts to realize that he’s got some real hard work to do for the devils to be top tier again.

  3. Ryane Clowe didn’t look like a great replacement to anyone that I spoke with at the time of his signing. His prior 2 concussion filled seasons with the Sharks and Rangers presaged exactly what the Devils got, if not worse. This was a very risky signing that didn’t pay off.
    You definitely missed Salvador from this list and you could possibly add Zajac and his ridiculous cost-per-point contract.
    And to help with your grammar, when it’s is used as a contraction of ‘it is’ as in your reply to sled ed, it gets an apostrophe. No apostrophe indicates possession as in ‘its tire is flat.’ – Just trying to help.

    • Haha, he will be playing in the upcoming Alumni game. Should be fun to watch him in that. Thanks for the comment.

    • Thanks for the comment. I know its not perfect, its a work in progress, but I do use spell check and I’m working on my grammar, which has steadily improved.

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