Today, New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello spoke with the media before tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The question of whether to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline next week came up, and Lamoriello gave no doubt to which way he was leaning.
According to him, it is “not even a question” that the Devils are going to be buyers going into next week’s deadline, which comes off the heels of Jaromir Jagr stating his affinity to stay with the Devils this season.
The Devils are currently in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division. However, they are only five points out of the Detroit Red Wings, who own the final spot in the Eastern Conference; they are also only six points out of the second place New York Rangers. While the season has been a rough one, a good final 23 games will almost surely provide a playoff spot.
There seem to be some really good offensive players that are looking for new homes. Thomas Vanek of the New York Islanders has already declined a contract extension. With the season ending injury to John Tavares, the Isles could be looking for whatever they can get for Vanek. The Tampa Bay Lightning is having trouble with Martin St. Louis, as he has reportedly requested a trade. If it doesn’t work out with the Rangers, maybe he would settle for coming across the Hudson. Ryan Kesler has apparently requested a trade from the Vancouver Canucks, but who knows if John Tortorella would allow a trade with the team he seems to hate the most.
The Devils have a low ranked farm system, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have assets to give a team looking for prospects. The question is, who would the Devils be willing to give up?
On top of this year, the Devils have $25 million going into next season in cap space. With most of the team intact, they have the ability to really improve. If they brought in a “rental,” they have the equity, and a new owner, to sign them to a new deal.
The Devils are going to most likely bring someone in. It could be a big name like Marek Zidlicky from two years ago, or lesser names like Steve Sullivan and Andrei Loktionov last season. The fact is, it looks like Lamoriello is working the midnight oil to make a deal happen.