The 5 best trades for the Devils’ No. 2 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft | Launderer’s report
0 out of 5
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NHL Draft lottery balls bounced back in favor of the New Jersey Devils last month as they secured the rights to the
second choice overall in the 2022 draft. This is the fourth time since 2017 that they got a top-five pick, and it’s their best finish since using the first overall selection in 2019 to select Jack Hughes.
General manager Tom Fitzgerald could use the pick to select a promising prospect who could become a future NHL star. The Devils have been lucky with some of their recent picks, with centers such as Hughes and Nico Hischier quickly becoming basemen.
However, he might have other plans. On May 5, Fitzgerald indicated his willingness to swap this selection
to acquire an established player to complement its core of young forwards.
The Devils could use an extra punch. Their average of 2.99 goals per game ranked 19th overallwhile their deplorable power-play percentage (15.6) was 28th.
The Devils could get calls from teams with no first-round picks or perhaps from those looking to lose pay or move up the draft order. Daily face-to-face
Frank Seravalli had this pick listed at No. 7 on its recent list of top trade targets this summer. With a projected salary cap of $25.3 million for next seasonthe Devils can afford to hire higher-paying talent.
Which teams could be interested in the second overall pick and what kind of return could he bring? Here is our best estimate of five potential destinations based on their respective needs.
1 out of 5
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A source close to Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak recently told The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa that there was “no chance” he would sign a contract extension if Don Sweeney remained as general manager. The next day, Pastrnak’s agent refuse there was a rift between his client and Sweeney, saying they still intended to sit down to discuss a contract extension soon.
Still, what if Sweeney and the Pastrnak camp can’t agree on an extension before the draft? He is one year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Sweeney could accept trade offers if Pastrnak shows any interest in testing the market next summer, perhaps to replace the first-rounder he negotiated to the Anaheim Ducks for Hampus Lindholm.
Co-winner of Maurice Richard Trophy in 2019-20, Pastrnak has reached or exceeded 40 goals twice in the past three seasons. The 26-year-old right-winger would not only bring an invaluable goal to the Devils, but also plenty of playoff experience. He could take on a leadership role with this young team.
Trading Pastrnak would also signal that a rebuild is underway for the Bruins. He could be shortened somewhat by earning the second overall selection in this year’s draft. Perhaps the Devils would also include right-winger Jesper Bratt in a bigger deal with the Bruins if they couldn’t agree on a contract extension for the 23-year-old. restricted free agent.
2 out of 5
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After taking over as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks on March 1, Kyle Davidson announcement they had to undergo reconstruction. With the glory days of the once mighty franchise well behind them, he acknowledged it could be several years before they return to the Stanley Cup.
Davidson enters this offseason without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. His predecessor traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer as a part of the return for defender Seth Jones. Acquiring the No. 2 overall pick would provide the Blackhawks with a significant token to spend replenishing their prospect pool.
Alex DeBrincat has become a hot topic for recent offseason trade speculation. Daily face-to-face Frank Seravalli has the 24-year-old Blackhawks winger at the top of his list of top trade targets this summer. He pointed out that DeBrincat had one year left on his on-going contract and will have a $9 million qualifying offer next offseason.
Scorer of 40 goals twice, DeBrincat would be an excellent skater on the The Devils Frontline on the left wing. They can also afford his current contract and a long-term extension.
Davidson could also call for young left winger Yegor Sharangovich as part of the comeback, but it would be worth parting ways with that comeback to bring in a bona fide sniper to bolster their attack.
3 out of 5
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After a career-best 115 points to finish second among top scorers, left-winger Johnny Gaudreau should get a big raise on his next contract. Fresh out of a six-year contract with the Calgary Flames worth $6.75 million a year, the 28-year-old unrestricted free agent could command between $9 million and $10 million on a long-term deal.
Calgary has a screening $26.9 million
in salary cap space for next season, but restricted free agents Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington are also due for new contracts. Gaudreau might prove too costly to retain.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving could try to shop for Gaudreau’s rights before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 13 to replace the first-round player he Shipped to the Montreal Canadiens for Tyler Toffoli.
Gaudreau, who hails from New Jersey, would provide the Devils with a local superstar at the height of his playing career. The gifted playmaker has scored a career-high 40 goals this season and would be a great pick on their top line. His experience will prove invaluable to their offensive attack.
By acquiring the rights to Gaudreau, the Devils could offer him an eight-year contract rather than the seven years he would get on the open market. Trading the No. 2 overall pick straight for his rights might be all it takes, as the Flames may lack the leverage to demand a bigger return given his upcoming foray into free agency.
The Devils have the leeway to sign Gaudreau on a lucrative deal, giving him the opportunity to skate with an up and coming young club that could be serious playoff contenders for the rest of his prime.
4 out of 5
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The Minnesota Wild faces a big capitalization crisis for 2022-23.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s buyouts last summer leave them with $12.7 million in dead cap space for 2022-23, giving them just $7.4 million in projected cap space. Meanwhile, restricted free agent winger Kevin Fiala is set to get a big raise after a career-best 85 points.
Fiala, 25, has just completed a year,
$5.1 million contract. He has arbitration rights and is also one year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He could seek a long-term extension worth more than $7 million a year or look to hit that cap on a one-year contract to take him to the UFA market next summer. Wild general manager Bill Guerin may have no choice but to trade him.
The Devils can afford to acquire and sign Fiala. He could slot in well on the left side of fellow Swiss Nico Hischier with Jesper Bratt on the left side. They could sign him for a seven- or eight-year extension.
Given that Fiala’s previous career-best performance was a 54-point effort in 2019-20, the Devils might be reluctant to part with the second overall pick for him. Guerin could also offer his own first round in 2022 (24th overall) or launch one of his hopes.
5 out of 5
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Trading the second overall pick for a player pushing 30 isn’t usually a wise move. However, when that player is Vancouver Canucks forward JT Miller, it might be worth considering.
Miller is a late star in the NHL. After spending seven seasons as an all-around forward with the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, he became a first-line scorer with the Canucks. He had 72 points in 69 games in 2019-20, 46 points in 53 games during last season’s COVID-shortened campaign and had a career-high 99 points in 80 games this season.
The 29-year-old is still a year old on his contract worth $5.25 million and could ask for a raise that would take him out of the Canucks market.
On May 17, The Athletic’s Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance noted that the Canucks front office is looking for salary cap flexibility. The Canucks should only have $10.6 million in the salary cap space for 2022-23 and must re-sign restricted free agent winger Brock Boeser. They also need cap flexibility beyond next season with captain Bo Horvat eligible for unrestricted free agency next July.
The Devils could help the Canucks solve that problem by offering the second overall pick and maybe a young player or prospect for Miller. His intensity, back-and-forth skills and leadership could help them qualify for the playoffs.
Given Miller’s age, the Devils might be reluctant to offer him more than a five-year extension, but they could tempt him with $9 million a season.