There is no doubt that right now the New Jersey Devils have a big problem scoring goals. The Devils are averaging just two goals a game and have failed to tally even one goal in their last two contests and have struggled out of the gate to a 3-7-4 record. Ilya Kovalchuk’s decision to return to Russia and David Clarkson’s free agent defection have left the Devils without two of their top three goal scorers from last season. The Devils need offense in a bad way.
The trade market is still a long way from truly developing but that didn’t stop the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres from swapping Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello might need to get creative soon for fear of allowing this season to slip away.
One option for the Devils could be Columbus Blue Jackets winger Marian Gaborik. Gaborik, who was acquired from the New York Rangers before the trade deadline last season, is currently in the last year of his deal and there have already been whispers coming out of Columbus that GM Jarmo Kekalainen is wondering whether Gaborik is the guy to build his franchise around. Gaborik, meanwhile, has averaged just over 17 minutes of ice time yet is the Blue Jackets’ leading scorer with 10 points in 12 games.
There is a chance that Kekalainen decides to move the 31-year-old Gaborik for younger pieces as Columbus searches for an identity for the future. If Gaborik does become available the Devils must try to pry him away. The Devils have enough young prospects to entice Kekalainen without sacrificing their entire future.
Martin Brodeur is entering the last year or two of his career and the Devils have been proactive in finding his replacement by bringing in Cory Schneider. The Devils tried to replace Clarkson with Ryane Clowe but so far their attempt at replacing Kovalchuk has been bringing in a 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr. So far, Clowe has been hurt and Jagr has been fairly productive given his age but the Devils need more punch and Gaborik would certainly bring that.
Gaborik isn’t exactly a perfect fit for the Devils’ scheme but he is likely to be the best available player on the market this winter and would add offense to a team searching desperately for it and the Devils need players who can put the puck on the net. Few will be available this winter and even fewer will be as good as Gaborik.