The Devils are reeling; that much is true. Many are playing some of their worst hockey and changes must be made. This isn't football. Losing five of the past six games will not cost the season, but in a 48-game schedule that is not the type of streak a team wants to have.
Could There Be A Trade?
There's no reason for me to write this article if a trade is not possible. However, it will take a very reasonable deal for Lou Lamoriello to partake in such an acquisition. The last time the Devils aggressively pursued trades was in 2010-2011, when the Devils were a cellar-dweller team filled with old talents such as Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott.
Knowing that the Devils had little hope of salvaging the season, Lamoriello traded team captain Langenbrunner back to his original team: the Dallas Stars. Later on, he capitalized on a very smart deal and received a second-round pick and faceoff ace David Steckel.
Suffice it to say that neither of those trades were stretches by any means and that Lou was smart for making them.
The Devils haven't acquired a true difference maker since the Ilya Kovalchuk trade, where they sent over a first-round pick, Johnny Oduya, Nicklas Bergfors and Patrice Cormier for the electric Russian sniper.
So why would the Devils aggressively pursue an All-Star to throw into the lineup? There are a few reasons for this. First and most importantly, Martin Brodeur is nearing the end of his career and the Devils could very well enter a few years of uncertainty as they develop their prospects. Secondly, the defense is getting up there in age, and if the Devils wanted to trade one of them that window becomes very small.
Why Would There Be A Trade?
Well, unless you have been living under a rock the past week-and-a-half, the Devils have mightily struggled against weak and not-so-weak opponents. Their two losses to Winnipeg and two should-have-been losses to Washington speak wonders about how this team is playing.
What Are the Devils Looking For?
Explaining this is not so easy. For starters, the Devils have a pretty well-rounded roster at defense (with eight NHL-caliber defensemen and a few waiting in the minors) and two strong goalies on one-way deals (therefore, they'd be gone if they were sent down to the AHL).
Moose Hedberg and Marty Brodeur both have no-trade clauses (not that the Devils would ever trade Marty), but very few others do. So that means that they could trade one of their C-grade defensemen (Anton Volchenkov, Henrik Tallinder, Mark Fayne, Peter Harrold) and a pick for a forward of some sort.
Trade Proposition No. 1: Ben Bishop Traded to Devils for Henrik Tallinder and a Third-Round Pick
In this scenario, the Devils would acquire 26-year-old, 6'7" goalie Ben Bishop from Ottawa for the relatively cheap price of Henrik Tallinder and a mid-round draft pick.
The only problem entering this trade would be Bishop's one-way deal, but if Marty comes back anytime soon and both Bishop and Hedberg are healthy, Lou could move Hedberg to the minors. On a one-way deal, it's possible he goes, but it's worth the risk. Thirty-nine and 40-year-old goalies probably don't have that much desire on the waiver market.
Unloading Henrik Tallinder and his $3.4 million salary just makes this trade all the wiser. In an offseason that will likely feature Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla, Alex Semin, Derek Roy and Nathan Horton, having extra cap room is a smart decision.
However, with some very talented goalies hitting the restricted free-agent market, the Devils could always look there to fill the position, where goalies like Sergei Bobrovsky, Steve Mason and Tuukka Rask will all be waiting.
Bishop has great height (and uses it), while still being a pretty agile goalie with decent reflexes. However, the outstanding play of Craig Anderson and the readiness of their AHL affiliate's Robin Lehner make Bishop the odd guy out.
Trade Proposition No. 2: Paul Stastny Traded to Devils for Mark Fayne, Henrik Tallinder and a fifth-round pick
I'm not sure if many people would see this coming if it happened, but there is all the reason to. The Avalanche just retained Ryan O'Reilly for two years and still have Matt Duchene and John Mitchell at center. Their need for a center could not be much lower, and the Devils' need for a playmaking forward who can set up Ilya Kovalchuk could not be much higher.
Because of Colorado's surplus and its need for defensemen (of all sorts), this trade becomes all the more likely. Mark Fayne and Henrik Tallinder have seemingly worn out their time in New Jersey. Fayne might just need a change in scenery to reach his full potential, but Tallinder is just about done, only offering leadership and minute playoff experience to any team that acquires him.
This would also vastly alter the Devils' line chart, more closely resembling these:
Line 1: Henrique-Stastny-Kovalchuk
Line 2: Elias-Zajac-Clarkson
Line 3: Ponikarovsky-Loktionov-Butler
Line 4: Barch-Gionta-Bernier
Once Carter returns, Gionta would move to left wing and Carter would reclaim his center position. On defense, the pairings:
Line 1: Zidlicky-Volchenkov
Line 2: Greene-Larsson
Line 3: Salvador-Urbom/Anderson
So what do you think of these trades? Do you like them? Think the Devils could do better or stay where they are? Leave a comment so I can learn your opinion. Thanks for reading!