The New Jersey Devils are hot! The team has won five of their last six games (including three overtime wins—and a loss) and are one win away from securing a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.
That may come as a surprise to many Devils fans who weren't sure what this season held for their favorite team, and it's surely satisfying for the players to see their hard work pay off.
That being said, this is all about the 2012 NHL season. No matter what happens, their hard work has been only for this season, and nothing they do will live past this season. Eventually, July 1 will come, and that means a lot of changes.
The Devils have more than a dozen players slated to hit free agency this off-season. Some are tremendously important players, some are prospects, and some are question marks. Still though, all will have to be dealt with.
With so many contracts coming off the books, the Devils will have more than $20 million in cap space to work with. However, they'll need to allocate that space as carefully as possible, taking into account players who will be due large raises as well as players who are worth less than when they signed their last contracts.
So how will things shake out? Here are projections for who will stay and who will leave the Devils come this off-season's free agency.