After weeks and weeks of speculation, rumors, discussion, and even a few actual transactions, today is finally here: the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. All 31 teams have until 3:00 PM ET to register their trades with the league’s office. There may be a few announcements after 3 PM given the time it takes to process moves, but the deadline is set for that time. After that, the 23-man active roster limit is lifted and teams are limited to four non-emergency call-ups through the rest of the season. Teams must still be compliant to the salary cap and the fifty contract limit. This day effectively begins stretch run to close out the 2018-19 regular season.
For the New Jersey Devils, the season has been settled a long time ago. This is not a playoff team. This team will not make the playoffs. There will not be a miracle run to come even close to the playoff picture. This is a team that has a road record almost as bad as Ottawa’s and has been hanging out in the bottom of the league’s standings for weeks now. This is a team that has twenty games to evaluate players and prepare for 2019-20 and beyond. That is the value of the stretch run beyond any memorable moments and games that you may want to see the Devils win for various personal reasons (e.g. always beat Our Hated Rivals, something the 2018-19 Devils seemingly do not agree with).
As you would expect from a team in this situation, the Devils are expected to be sellers at the deadline. General Manager Ray Shero has already begun with sending Brian Boyle to Nashville for a second round draft pick in 2019. Prior to the Rangers game on this past Saturday, Shero sent Ben Lovejoy to Dallas for a third round pick in 2019 and defenseman Connor Carrick. John Hynes has scratched Marcus Johansson in the past two games for “precautionary reasons.” In other words, the Devils did not want to risk Johansson getting hurt, which would scuttle a potential trade. They also did this to Lovejoy; he was not going to play in New York if he was not dealt on Saturday. If Johansson has not been traded by now, then it could very well happen today.
I wrote up a primer about the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline that went up last week that details the Devils’ situation. The Devils have six pending unrestricted free agents among their 47 contracts. Johansson leads the group and Lovejoy has already been moved. Given that the others are Keith Kinkaid, Kenny Agostino, Drew Stafford, and Eric Gryba, the one deal to look out for will involve Johansson. The Devils have oodles of cap space and can add just about anyone. I doubt that they will today short of a massive deal. They also have nine draft picks, which might increase before the day is over.
Above all else, Ray Shero has to make the best moves for the franchise as he sees fit. He’s already done a very good job turning a fourth-liner who did a bit of everything (Brian Boyle) and a third-pairing defenseman and penalty kill specialist (Ben Lovejoy) into two additional picks in the top-90 of the 2019 NHL Draft and a NHL defenseman in Connor Carrick. Still, Shero can make offers but ultimately he can accept only whatever is offered and that may not be worth doing. So it is possible that nothing happens today, although I would really expect Johansson to go. The next opportunity for significant transactions would be later this year before the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and free agency.
This is an open post for you to discuss what happens for the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. What has happened, what is about to happen, and what shouldn’t happen in terms of trades and transactions. Please feel free to chat about what the New Jersey Devils should do, should not do, and what they have done so far. You can even talk up what other teams do. With some big names like Panarin, Bobrovsky, and Stone being talked about, there should be some real action today.
Please do not post false rumors, “hot tips from sources” that nobody knows, and cite Twitter accounts that aren’t legit or real insiders (Hint: spelling insider wrong is a clue that they aren’t). Nobody here has the time for riling people up over fake rumors and made up junk that wouldn’t fly in the EA NHL games. Instead, please stick to following real people with real Verified marks on Twitter accounts. Follow real sources of news from known beat reporters to big companies (e.g. TSN’s Tradecentre) to credible hubs (e.g. SB Nation’s NHL Trade Rumor Hub) to even the team’s official website and/or social media accounts. As always: It’s better to be right than first. All other rules apply (no trolling, no swearing, etc.) to this post as well.
We’ll keep up with what the Devils do during the day as it happens. We’ll likely will have a summary up in the evening at some point. It’s Pride Night at the Rock and the Devils will host Montreal tonight. At a minimum, the organization will be busy tonight. It remains to be seen if that includes a trade or not. Therefore, whatever addition they make may not be seen in New Jersey until February 27 against Calgary and whatever subtraction they will make may impact tonight’s game. All the same, enjoy the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline and discuss it here with your fellow Devils fan. Thank you for reading.