New Jersey Devils Rumors: Does The Team's Expendable Defensemen Have Any Value?

By Mark Donatiello
Ed Mulholland – US PRESSWIRE

Adam Larsson isn’t going anywhere. He’s learning on the fly, but Larsson is the best defenseman the New Jersey Devils have, and he’s only 20-years old. His vision and versatility lend to thoughts of a 20-year NHL career.

Andy Greene is the lone veteran defenseman that seems worth trusting, so trading him would be a tremendous mistake given the frequent and untimely lapses of the bottom two pairings. Greene certainly has value, but unless the New Jersey Devils give up on the season, they need to keep Andy Greene as a top-pair defenseman.

That leaves the remaining six defensemen in this eight-man rotation of mediocre defensemen completely expendable – or does it?

Peter Harrold makes $550,000 per year, can play forward and defense, and inexplicably hasn’t found the ice yet this year. While he’s the odd man out on both ends of the ice, he lends versatility and depth at very little cost.  Though he isn’t playing, he’s serving a purpose. Furthermore, if the thought process behind playing both Cam Janssen and Krys Barch is “why not?”, then “why not” play Harrold after a strong playoff run last year?

The Devils should keep Peter Harrold, and should probably find a way to get him on the ice somewhere.

Mark Fayne is a solid defenseman. He isn’t flashy, but he’s quietly consistent and doesn’t make big mistakes. He too has some value on the trade market, but why would the New Jersey Devils move a player that is playing reasonably well? He’s not a problem, but then again, they did just scratch him for Henrik Tallinder a few weeks ago.

Marek Zidlicky is a threat offensively, even when mired in a season-long slump. Though he takes risks and is sloppy in his own end, on a team desperate for offense, Zidlicky brings the hope of  a point presence to the table.  Without Zidlicky, the Devils are miserably lacking a big shot from the point.

With him, New Jersey finds themselves in something of a “catch-22-on-one breaks for the opposing team”.

That leaves the cluttered back end of the defensive rotation, which holds little to no trade value.

I’d say the New Jersey Devils wouldn’t trade captain Bryce Salvador, but I thought that about Team USA and long-time New Jersey Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner as well.  The slow, aging, average-at-best Salvador fits the Tallinder-Anton Volchenkov mold.  His overpriced contract does too.

In the end, the New Jersey Devils have three underperforming, relatively expensive veterans that bring little to the table – and one of them is their captain.

With Volchenkov the latest New Jersey Devils player to find himself on the bench while uninjured, and Henrik Tallinder shaking off the rust extremely slowly, neither extraneous defenseman holds much trade value. Assuming Salvador’s presence in the locker room is worth something, that leaves Volchenkov and Tallinder as trade bait – if you can even call them that.

Henrik Tallinder is coming off an injury that cost him most of the season last year. After opening the year on the bench, he is still getting used to NHL speed. Anton Volchenkov got scorched last postseason by some of the game’s best players, but is a big hitter, shot blocker, and consistently posts a positive +/-.

If someone is to go, it should probably be Henrik Tallinder to a cap floor team, but they probably won’t get anything for him.

If the Devils make a move, it will be a cap space dump and nothing more. Talk of the Devils trading their extra defenseman to get anything in return should end immediately. The only players worth parting with won’t bring a return.

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