Monday, February 29, 2016

Devils dealing at deadline

The New Jersey Devils were beginning to take a skate back in the playoff race,so general manager Ray Shero did the smart thing-continue the resuscitation of the franchise by building for the future on a day that saw the Devils made three trades and claim someone off waivers.

In the end,when the Devils take the ice tomorrow in Newark vs Carolina,there will be two new Devils,three players gone and three extra draft picks for future use after the Shero spree was concluded.

The biggest deal was the Devils saw veteran winger Lee Stempniak shipped to Boston in return for a 2017 second round pick and a fourth rounder in the 2016 draft.
Stempniak had been signed in the off-season and had surprised with the amount of offense that the vagabond wing had provided (16 goals and 25 assists) in leading the team in scoring.
Stempniak had discussed a possible extension with the Devils before the deadline,but the two failed to come to an agreement.
Stempniak could still be signed in free agency during the next off-season and I have a funny feeling that Devils fans haven't seen last of him in red and black (or green).
The Bruins will be the TENTH team for the 33 year forward.

The Devils also traded the oft-scratched Eric Gelinas to Colorado in return for a 2017 third rounder.
Gelinas had not played in nine games and clearly had become persona' non grata in New Jersey.
Gelinas has a booming shot,but had issues on the defensive end.
Gelinas might be best suited as a power play specialist,but clearly the Devils had prepared to move with a stockpile of younger defensemen.

New Jersey claimed a defenseman off waivers as the first move of the day saw yet another Penguin arrive in New Jersey as the team added David Warsofsky.
Claiming a defenseman was a pretty clear hint that the Devils had a move in mind and unless a taker was found for future free agent David Schemko (there wasn't) that the likely person to go was Gelinas.
Warsofsky spent some of the season with the AHL Pens in Scranton-Wilkes Barre,but had some concussion related issues after scoring a goal in twelve games with the parent Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Warsofsky is reported to be a strong skater and even though he spent five years in the Boston organization before signing with Pittsburgh before this season,I don't know if I've ever seen him play and if so it was nothing memorable....

The only trade that saw the Devils trade player for player saw another young player that the Shero/Hynes crew soured on traded to Montreal as former first rounder Stefan Matteau was sent to the Canadiens for winger Devonte Smith-Pelly.
Matteau scored just one goal this season for the Devils and hadn't been in a game for over a month.
Smith-Pelly had six goals and six assists and at 23,might be in a situation with something to prove as the stocky six foot right wing will be joining his third team in the last two seasons.
Smith-Pelly is a physical player not afraid of pounding the body and crashing the net,but is a restricted free agent at the end of the season....

My take
I love the return for Lee Stempniak.A two and four for a veteran player that's a free agent?
I'm fine there.

I'm also OK with the adding a third rounder for Eric Gelinas.
I like Gelinas as a power play specialist,but he clearly had played his way out of the teams plans,so getting a decent pick is a solid move and Gelinas could use a change of scenery as well....

I also think Devonte Smith-Pelly might help in third or fourth line play and he brings an aggressive attitude to Newark as well.
That said,Stefan Matteau has the larger upside,if he can ever put it together in Montreal.
The Devils got the better player now,but the Canadiens have the player with more potential.
I'll reserve thoughts on David Warsofsky until I can see him play......

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