NHL Trade Rumors: 4 Moves New Jersey Devils Should Make

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2012

NHL Trade Rumors: 4 Moves New Jersey Devils Should Make

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    The 28-19-3 New Jersey Devils have a big offseason ahead of them, highlighted by the impending free agency of captain Zach Parise.

    They'll also need to make a crucial decision in regards to the future of cornerstone, veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur, who has seen his production drop this season.

    While it's still too early to tell exactly what type of moves New Jersey will make, there are obvious positions that need to be addressed, and some names out there who can fill the void.

    Here are four moves New Jersey should make:

Keep Zach Parise

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    Along with Ilya Kovalchuk, captain Zach Parise is the only other pure scorer for the New Jersey Devils.

    Thus far, Parise has netted 18 goals and accumulated 25 assists, giving him 43 points, which is third-best on the team.

    After missing most of last season, Parise has been one of the most durable players in 2011-2012, playing in all of New Jersey's 50 games.

    The 2008-2009 season saw Parise lead the Devils in goals and assists, with a total of 94 points.

    While he's not quite on pace for those type of numbers this season, he's still been a solid asset and leader.

    His contract is set to expire after this season, leaving him a free agent, and it's rumored that the Minnesota Wild could find a home for Parise.

    If the Devils are smart, they'll re-sign No. 9.

Cut Ties with Martin Brodeur

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    For the first time since his rookie year, Martin Brodeur doesn't have a shutout to his name this season.

    He's also sporting a 2.77 GAA in 2011-2012, which is also the worst since he surrendered a 3.36 GAA his rookie year.

    These are all signs that Brodeur's career is coming to an end in New Jersey.

    Brodeur's backup Johan Hedberg has been better in goal this season, posting a 2.45 GAA, two shutouts and a .909 save percentage to Brodeur's .894.

    While neither goalie ranks near the top in the NHL in terms of wins—Hedberg has 12 and Brodeur has 16 while the league-leader has 32—Hedberg has been the more reliable goaltender for New Jersey this season.

    Whether the Devils go with Hedberg next season or a completely new goalie, one thing is for sure.

    Brodeur's career is declining. Fast.

Make a Push for Tuuka Rask

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    Tuuka Rask would be a great addition for the Devils and would instantly become the starting goaltender in New Jersey.

    Serving as Tim Thomas' backup for the past five seasons, the 24-year-old Rask is having the best season of his career.  

    His 1.88 GAA ranks third to only Brian Elliott and Henrik Lundqvist, as well as his .936 save percentage.

    He sports an 11-6 record and three shutouts in 2011-2012 and would certainly be an enormous upgrade to the aging Brodeur and Hedberg. 

    It's probably a long shot, as New Jersey would likely have to swap some young talent with the Boston Bruins, but it's still a possibility. 

Make an Offer to Alexander Semin

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    If LW Zach Parise walks in free agency, fellow LW Alexander Semin could fill the void.

    Semin is an unrestricted free agent who has signed two consecutive one-year deals with the Washington Capitals. The Caps have been unable to lock him up for the long term, and that could hurt them this offseason.

    Semin has scored more than 70 points three times in his career, highlighted by a 2009-2010 campaign that saw him score 84 points.

    He would also add postseason experience to the Devil's roster, as he's played in 37 postseason games, accumulating 30 points in his playoff career.

    If Parise leaves the Devils, Semin could pick up the slack at LW for New Jersey.