The New Jersey Devils arguably made their best trade of the day just now. The team announced that they moved defenseman Reece Scarlett for Florida right winger, Shane Harper. If the name seems vaguely familiar, that’s because Harper made his NHL debut in the Devils’ and Panthers’ first game this season.
This is a minor league deal. The 23-year old Scarlett, who was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, has been a mainstay of the Albany Devils for the last four seasons. Harper, who is 28, has been kicking around the AHL for the last few years. His 14 games with Florida is his only NHL experience, where he contributed two goals, one assist, 13 shots, and an averaged 10:18 per game. Who knows whether Scarlett would get chance in the NHL, so from that perspective, the Devils made an upgrade of sorts. Harper has more or less been a scoring winger in the AHL and that’s where he’ll start out for now. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s brought up to New Jersey at some point if only because the Devils are now short a right winger and Harper not so coincidentally plays right wing.
From an Albany perspective, I would think there are some mixed feelings. While four goals and seventeen assists aren’t exactly head-turning numbers, Scarlett did lead Albany defenders in points. If Harper acclimates himself well to Albany’s systems, then he could more than make up the difference in production. Something that may be needed as other Albany Devils from this season are with New Jersey like Miles Wood, Joseph Blandisi, Blake Coleman, and more recently, Kevin Rooney. It remains to be seen whether the hit to their defense will be significant.
The sad thing is that this minor league deal may be the team’s best move. Sure, they added an older winger, but they flipped someone that so deep in the depth chart for someone who is more established. That’s at least progress, even if it is largely for Albany and not New Jersey.
What’s your take on this minor league deal? Would you agree that this is the best move made today by the Devils? Please leave your answers and other reactions to this trade in the comments. Thank you for reading.