Tomorrow is the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline. The rumors have been picking up steam throughout the league. Some big deals already went down. Ben Bishop is now a King. Arizona picked up several of Minnesota’s picks in exchange for Martin Hanzal. Ottawa strangely acquired Alexandre Burrows. Kevin Shattenkirk is now with Washington. The New Jersey Devils did not wait to make some minor deals already. They sent Vernon Fiddler to Nashville for a 2017 fourth round pick. They swapped Sergey Kalinin to Toronto for Viktor Loov. OK, these aren’t massive moves that change the face of the franchise or the league. But they were moves and there may be more to come. To that end, here’s a preview of what to expect for tomorrow.
The Trade Deadline
The 2017 NHL Trade Deadline is March 1, 2017. Teams have to register trades with the league by 3 PM EST. After that, while some trades may be announced that were filed in at the final minute, no new ones can be made. Once the deadline passes, teams can go beyond the 23-man active roster limit. However, the salary cap and contract limit still apply though. Teams are allowed up to four non-emergency call-ups from their AHL affiliate until the end of the season.
By the way, this is also the final day the Devils can sign Patrik Elias. Honestly, if it has not happened now, then I doubt it. But there you are.
The Devils' Cap, Roster, & Picks Situation
A good rule of thumb before thinking up of any trades is to check the salary caps and rosters of the teams involved. Fortunately, CapFriendly has all of this information. As of the evening of February 26, the Devils have a projected cap space of roughly $9.19 million. Only Florida and Carolina have more cap space available. In terms of contracts, the Devils have 46 on the books with six prospects exempt from the 50-contract limit. They do have 23 active skaters on their roster: thirteen forwards, eight defensemen, and two goalies. But with defenseman Seth Helgeson recently clearing waivers, he can be sent down to open up a roster spot right away as needed. Additionally, Miles Wood and Joesph Blandisi are waiver-exempt so they can go to Albany in a pinch.
What this all means is that the Devils still have a lot of flexibility. Rebuilding teams need to keep their salary cap and roster space open enough for whatever comes by. Whether that’s to eat a bad contract to collect a pick or prospect for the future, make a big splash for a player in the future, or to be able to reward developing players with appropriate raises.
It is worth noting that the Devils have several picks at their disposal according to the team page at CapFriendly. They have nine picks for the 2017 draft, including Boston’s second rounder, Colorado’s third rounder, San Jose’s third rounder, and Nashville’s fourth rounder to go with New Jersey’s own first, second, fourth, fifth, and sixth round picks. The Devils also have all of their picks for 2018 as well as Florida’s second rounder and Toronto’s third rounder. The deal that picked up minor league forward Petr Straka involves a conditional seventh rounder for 2017 or 2018, so that’s an additional pick. These picks may be better served to be dealt around the draft when free agency lurks in the distance, similar to how the Devils turned a second round pick into Kyle Palmieri. But this adds to the number of options Ray Shero will have for today.
The Expansion Draft Impact
Teams are limited in terms of how many players they can protect in June’s expansion draft and some of those who will be exposed will have to meet games and contract requirements. CapFriendly’s Expansion Draft Tool is an excellent resource to understand what the 30 NHL teams will have to deal with. And that means someone who may ordinarily be on the trade block has to stay for June. I’ve made projections on who the Devils will protect this summer back in November, so if you’re looking for further thoughts on that, then check that post out. To summarize those thoughts, those requirements may mean Michael Cammalleri (who has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause) and Devante Smith-Pelly - two forwards who are signed through next year and meet the game requirements - will have to stay as New Jersey Devils for expansion draft purposes. Otherwise, Shero would have to hope Jacob Josefson or Beau Bennett would be willing to sign a deal for exposure purposes; or acquire someone to expose.
Expect Selling - What Can the Devils Do?
This team is not expected to make the playoffs again. Their performances do not suggest that they are a post-season caliber team. They are closer to the bottom of the East than they are to a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Most of all, they already sent two players who were regulars this season in Fiddler and Kalinin. for a fourth-round draft pick and a minor league defenseman in Loov. This is a team that will be sellers by the end of today.
As far as I know, there haven’t been any rumors involving the Devils. I like it that way. It suggests to me that the team is in control of their actions, that they’re not “showing their hand.”
The Players That Could Be Moved
Technically, this could mean anyone. But in terms of who other teams may want, the Devils’ pickings are a bit slim. That’s usually how it goes for a team that’s sitting in 14th in a 16-team conference. But there are two Devils who have come up more often than not.
Kyle Quincey - Quincey may not be right-handed but he plays on the right side and that’s always a plus for moving defensemen. Quincey has emerged from the team’s third pairing to average just under 18 and a half minutes per game. While he’ll never be confused with an offensive defenseman, Quincey has exceeded his point and shot totals from last season. He’s also rather cheap; his contract for this season was $1.25 million, so his remaining daily cap hit is under $300k. Further, the numbers are Corsica reveal that while thirty-one year old defender may be slow, he hasn’t been horrendous. Quincey’s CF% is the third highest onthe team at 47.54%. His on-ice play has yielded an expected goals against per sixty-minute rate of 2.51, which isn’t bad. His SA/60 rate of 30.12 rates fifth on the team - behind Stollery, Santini, Merrill, and Helgeson. Except for Merrill, those were others limited to mostly third-pairing situations. No, Quincey isn’t great, but he’s not a terrible rental for a team looking to bolster their bottom pairing. With Ron Hainsey yielding a minor leaguer and a second round pick, perhaps Quincey can pull a third rounder or something like that.
Quincey was a healthy scratch on Monday night. That should only further speculation that he’ll be dealt by the deadline.
P.A. Parenteau - Parenteau was picked up off waivers, so the Devils would have to offer him for free to anyone else who put in a claim in for him before making any trades. I do not know if anyone else did, but that is the big asterisk for deals involving him. At a minimum, Parenteau has made a case that he can contribute. The 33-year old right winger with a right-handed shot has 13 goals, 14 assists, and 109 shots in this season. He’s played up with Travis Zajac and Taylor Hall, although recent weeks have seen him moved to the bottom six. Perhaps that is to show what he could in such a role. In any case, his season as a whole has been better than what is usually expected from a waiver-pickup. According to Corsica, Parenteau is one of four Devils forwards with a CF% above 50% (the others: Bennett, Zajac, Hall), the team’s SF/60 rate when he’s on the ice in 5-on-5 play is the highest among forwards at 32.46, and his scoring chance for percentage is above 50% as well. Parenteau was also signed for a one-year deal at $1.25 million, so he would be an inexpensive rental for a team looking to bolster their offense. We’ll see if what he’s done will be enough to garner enough interest by this year’s deadline.
Parenteau was held out of Monday’s game but he was not a healthy scratch. As written by Andrew Gross at Fire & Ice on Monday, Parenteau hurt his finger blocking a shot in Saturday’s game. He is day-to-day. It may be enough to put teams off from trying to acquire him. It may be something teams will look past. We’ll see.
Could anyone else be dealt? Sure. But, again, it’s hard to identify who would be desirable for other teams. I mean, Jon Merrill and a third isn’t going to garner much even knowing that Merrill is 25, has a cheap contract, and would meet the games requirement for exposure in the expansion draft.
What Should the Devils Want
I don’t think the Devils have the assets or are in a position to really add a big name player at this trade deadline. A bigger splash may be made prior to free agency, like last season’s huge Hall-for-Larsson deal. But this team isn’t going anywhere in this season, so the ask should be for assets to help them in the future. This means more picks. A prospect or two would also be helpful. While the pipeline seems stronger than it was two years ago, any kind of offensively skilled prospect would be very appreciated in this system. For the players the Devils may be moving, I doubt the Devils would be able to get anyone substantial as a prospect short of a team really underestimating someone. Picks would be sufficient for this year’s deadline provided the Devils don’t move a player with a more significant role on the team.
The Devils could be active tomorrow, not all that active, or not active at all (this is always a possibility). What would you like to see Shero do? Who do you want the Devils to “sell off” and why? What are your expectations for the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline? We will have an open post in the morning tomorrow for you discuss all trade activity so far. In the meantime, please leave your answers and other thoughts about the deals made and the deals to come in the comments. Thank you for reading.