With less than a week until the trade deadline, news has gotten out that the Devils scouts and even Ray Shero himself have traveled to other games around the league. This alone makes you believe New Jersey is looking to make at least one move prior to the deadline.
Trades are always exciting for fans especially if it works out in your teams favor, but what about after the deadline? After the deadline your roster is basically set for the rest of the season and you have an idea if you’re heading for the post season or home.
When you’re going home you start to make a to-do list. The list will usually consist of players you need to sign, draft day preparations and an overall expectation of the next season etc. Unless Schneider leads New Jersey on some ridiculous win streak, they’re more than likely going home. So what would be on a to-do list for New Jersey? For the sake of keeping things simple, I’m breaking the list into three articles over the next three weeks. Let’s begin!
Attempt to sign Taylor Hall
Ray Shero made it clear that trading Hall is not an option. So if you’re not going to trade him, the only other option is an attempt to sign him. Hall has been sidelined since December 23rd with a lower body injury and is still 3rd in points on the roster. Re-signing a Hart Trophy winner comes at a price though. Besides what is usually a hefty contract, you have to worry about the player being happy, the support around him and does the organization have a competitive future. We have all seen the reports that Taylor Hall’s agent said he’s happy in New Jersey and the prospects seem to be promising for the future, so what about support around him currently? That brings me to #2.
2. Offer Nico Hischier a contract
2017 First overall draft pick Nico Hischier currently has 94 points over 138 games during his NHL Career. I’ve had discussions with a few different hockey fans regarding Nico. Some people think his success is due to lack of talent on the roster. I see it a bit differently. I’m not going to sit here and say Nico Hischier is an elite hockey player and that he belongs on the top line of any team in the NHL, realistically that’s not the case, and there’s no problem with that. When putting together the 1980 Olympic team Coach Herb Brooks said “I’m not looking for the best players, I’m looking for the right ones”. Nico Hischier, is the right player in my opinion . He has a smart hockey sense, plays the puck well, has offensive ability and while Hall has been on the IR, he has shown he can take lead of the team. In addition to all that, Hall and Hischier have chemistry on the ice. Completing the second item on the to-do list makes accomplishing the first easier.
3. If there is a post deadline MoJo. Keep Him.
Marcus Johansson has been the center of attention coming into the deadline. Twitter is full of do we keep him or trade him polls. I myself was once on the bandwagon of getting rid of him. I find myself on the fence now. His production hasn’t been what some expected it to be and he seems to be injured more than healthy. However in the last 10 Games MoJo has produced 8 points. He seems to be playing well on the top line filling in for Hall, which may get him back into a more permanent rhythm. Don’t take this as me saying don’t move him.
I’m saying if nothing works out, he seems to be playing better hockey, teammates like him and he has already said he’d like to stay with the Devils. Why not offer him something to stay?