The New Jersey Devils and GM Lou Lamoriello have done it again. The genius behind the Devils’ long-standing success made another brilliant move this week when he traded a conditional fifth-round pick to the St. Louis Blues for a conditional seventh rounder and forward Matt D’Agostini. D’Agostini was the odd man out in St. Louis, but could be a perfect fit for the Devils.
While D’Agostini has struggled this season, barely contributing to the Blues at all, he will be given the opportunity to prosper in New Jersey. D’Agostini could see minutes as a top-six forward, filling in on the wing after injuries crippled the Devils’ depth. Since Lamoriello already traded a fifth-round pick for new top-line center Andrei Loktionov earlier this year, expectations are high for Matt D’Agostini after he was acquired for the same price. In a move that carries no risk, the Devils traded for a player that scored 21 goals just two seasons ago.
With the Devils’ struggles seemingly behind them and Martin Brodeur healthy again, New Jersey is in a far less desperate situation than just a few weeks ago. As the Devils offense went cold and goaltending collapsed, New Jersey found themselves very suddenly outside the playoff bubble. A big move seemed inevitable to give the Devils a boost during their stretch run towards the playoffs. With Brodeur back and the team playing better, however, New Jersey seems content with their roster as it is currently constructed – though they shouldn’t be.
While other teams seem to be ahead of the New Jersey Devils in pursuing Jarome Iginla, the veteran forward could be the missing puzzle piece for the Devils. New Jersey still needs a proven scorer to round out their top six and Iginla appears to be available. Even with the emergence of Loktionov, New Jersey needs more scoring. Players like Bobby Ryan could also make the type of impact the Devils need.
New Jersey could easily put together a package of prospects for players to land Iginla or another big-name weapon at the trade deadline. It seems, however, that Lamoriello is targeting “value” over immediate impact. With the exception of the Ilya Kovalchuk trade a few years ago, small-time moves are “status quo” for the Devils.
With that being said, D’Agostini is still a great pick up. He carries no risk, he has decent potential, and he fills a void. When the Devils finally get healthy, the team will again have excellent depth through the bottom lines. Still, if the decision to bring in a slumping Matt D’Agostini means the Devils won’t make any other moves this year, New Jersey may have been better off without him. The Devils still need one more big scorer to round out their top six. If they’re content with the team as it is currently constructed, they won’t make another Stanley Cup run this year.