The NHL Draft is tomorrow night; it’s difficult to believe that is already upon us, yet here we are. As of this writing, the Devils have not made any moves since the season concluded, meaning they hold their first round pick (#17 overall), their own fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounders plus an additional fifth from the Calgary Flames. With no picks in rounds two and three, there has been some speculation that Ray Shero might swing a deal before he even gets to the podium; today, we take a look at trades he has made as Devils GM during previous drafts.
Devilish Draft Day Deals
June 27th, 2015: Devils acquire RW Kyle Palmieri from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for 2015 Pick #41 (Ryan Gropp selected by New York Rangers) & 2016 Pick #76 (Rem Pitlick selected by Nashville Predators)
The draft picks that New Jersey dealt in this shrewd move wound up coming from their trade deadline deal that sent Jaromir Jagr to the Florida Panthers for both picks. Ray Shero wound up trying to make a splash with these instead of drafting more players, and splash he did.
It was fairly well known that where Anaheim was in terms of the salary cap at that time, that they felt they would be unable to retain RFA Kyle Palmieri; rather than sign him short term or risk losing him for nothing later on when he could become a UFA, they sent him to a rebuilding New Jersey team.
Palmieri would quickly become the engine that drove New Jersey, scoring 30 goals his first year, followed by seasons of 26 and 24; it should also be noted that he missed 20 games during this year’s 24 goal campaign due to injury.
The Devils won this trade hands down; they got a 25-30 goal scorer in exchange for two players who have yet to crack an NHL roster, and in one case (according to their fans) a player who maybe never will.
June 24th, 2016: Devils acquire Pick #12 (Michael McLeod) & Pick #73 (Joey Anderson) from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Pick #11 (Logan Brown)
When the announcement was made that the Devils would be trading down in the draft, I didn’t expect it to be simply one spot. Ottawa must have valued Logan Brown fairly highly, as they were willing to send New Jersey a third rounder for that one slot. Brown saw limited NHL action this past season, contributing an assist in four appearances before being sent back to the OHL for the season.
McLeod made the Devils out of training camp for 2017-18, but did not see any action due to injury; he was sent back to the OHL as well when healthy, however his production dipped from his previous season with the Mississauga Steelheads. It also did not carry over to the AHL, as he recorded a lone assist in six appearances with Binghamton.
The real steal of this trade could wind up being Joey Anderson, as after finishing his current season with Minnesota-Duluth, the Devils thought highly enough of him to sign him to a contract in the midst of their first round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. While he ultimately did not see any action, the stage could be set for Anderson to make the Devils opening night roster for 2018-19.
June 25th, 2016: Devils acquire Beau Bennett from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for 2016 Pick #77 (Connor Hall)
This trade was seen as a victory at the time for the Devils, as their right wing depth was miserable, and Bennett was viewed as a player who could possibly break out if given more ice time. That wound up being a false narrative; while he did a very good job in terms of possession and advanced statistics, Bennett didn’t do as much as hoped offensively, finishing his lone season in Jersey with 19 points in 65 games. He was not qualified as a RFA and opted to sign with the St. Louis Blues, where he spent most of the season with their AHL affiliate.
Connor Hall, on the other hand, could maybe one day be an NHL defenseman...maybe...who knows? The jury is still out on this one!
Honorable Mention: Devils acquire Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Adam Larsson
Okay so this trade technically happened four days after the 2016 NHL Draft, but still this heist has to be mentioned at every chance we get because where would the New Jersey Devils be without the man who was crowned the NHL MVP last night?
After the draft, Shero had a vision for where he wanted the team to go, and he knew he needed a high scoring, mobile player to get there. Edmonton offered up Hall in exchange for simply Larsson (who is still a pretty darn good defenseman in his own right, but just not in Hall’s echelon) and Shero pounced; this trade could wind up being looked back upon in just a few short seasons as the turning point that returned New Jersey to prominence.
Trade is one for one: Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 29, 2016
Do you foresee the Devils making any moves leading up to their first turn at the podium? Will they make a trade on Day 2 to be able to draft before the fourth round? If you do see the team making a move, do you think it will be a small move similar to the Bennett trade, or a larger one in the vein of the Palmieri trade? Leave any and all comments below and thanks as always for reading!