The New Jersey Devils have already made a plethora of moves this past summer to enhance their roster for the upcoming 2019-20 season. With a large influx of new names such as Jack Hughes, P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev joining the team, the Devils have more talent to work with than they have in the past few seasons. Between the new players and other previous draftees looking to make an impact, there is already going to be a fierce battle for roster spots. With that in mind, should or will the Devils sign any available players to PTOs?
In the past few seasons, the Devils have signed at least one player to a PTO to both attempt to flesh out the roster, and to provide competition for other players fighting to earn jobs out of camp. I assume the thought process was that if the young players couldn’t beat out veterans who were starting to age, then they weren’t ready yet for NHL action, and it would make more sense to sign the vet for league minimum.
Looking at available names, there are quite a few players who would fit the part, while many names that the Devils have had on past rosters (Stefan Noesen and Drew Stafford for example) have already been given PTOs by other teams. That’s not to say the Devils couldn’t bring them back if they wanted to, but considering that the team let both players walk, I’d say they want to move in a new direction.
I don’t think the need for outside PTO competition will arise this preseason, simply because of how much internal competition we already see exists. Whereas the Devils seemed short on talented wingers a mere couple months ago, now there seems to be a battle to find appropriate spots in the lineup for players such as Miles Wood, Jesper Boqvist and Wayne Simmonds. While those names may not be the biggest standouts, the Devils know where a lot of their top talents are going to slot in; the supporting cast is plentiful and just need to be placed in the necessary spots.
The only real option I could see would be to possibly bring in a goalie on a PTO simply as insurance in case of any injuries. The Devils have enough defensemen and forwards right now that even in the case of an injury or two, they would be able to weather the storm, provided that the injury wasn’t long-term. If they did have a long-term injury on defense, I could see the team offering Jake Gardiner a PTO (or even a contract) to be able to keep the team competitive this season. Outside of those, I just don’t see any spots, nor any need for PTOs for this team.
While this may be a bit of a shorter article, it mainly is due to my feeling that the Devils will be a team that doesn’t offer any PTOs prior to camp this season. While one could arise due to injury, I think the team is satisfied with the personnel they have, and as such, the competition will be from the highly touted players already within the organization.
Do you believe the opposite and see the Devils offering any PTOs? If so, which players do you believe the Devils will extend those invitations to? Is there anyone you would like to see on a PTO, even if you do not believe the team will extend the offer? Leave any and all comments below and thanks as always for reading!