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Game Preview #62: New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings

The Devils are in Detroit for a game that should serve as some sort of reprieve from the shock of how many players were traded yesterday.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at New Jersey Devils
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (24-27-10) at the Detroit Red Wings (15-45-4). SBN Blog: Winging it in Motown

The Time: 7:30 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+

Quick Breakdown of Yesterday’s Trade Deadline: John put up this recap of the deadline yesterday, as the Devils parted ways with Wayne Simmonds, Sami Vatanen, and Louis Domingue. This was the return they got:

Rather than part ways with another elite player like Kyle Palmieri or a young contributor like Miles Wood, the Devils chose to get rid of players who shouldn’t have had the outsized roles they have had this season given their performances. Vatanen has not been good at five-on-five, Wayne Simmonds seemed to have lost his scoring touch, and Louis Domingue hasn’t looked like an NHL player this season.

Claesson: The Devils picked up current AHLer Fredrik Claesson in the Sami Vatanen deal. He is 27 years old and has six goals and 20 assists in 150 NHL games playing an average of 15:45 per game. His most recent playing time came in 37 games for the Rangers last season, when he had two goals and four assists in 37 games in 17:15 of ice time per game. He is a moderate shot blocker and a slightly-aggressive hitter, with 171 and 322 credited blocks and hits, respectively, in his 150 games. However, he is not known for taking a lot of minor penalties, with just 50 PIMs in his career. 35 of those minutes came in his 2017-18 season of 64 games in Ottawa. He will be replacing Colton White in the lineup, who was sent to the AHL.

Merkley Down, McLeod Up: Yesterday, the New Jersey Devils sent Nick Merkley down (which makes him eligible for the AHL playoffs), and called up Michael McLeod. Tom Fitzgerald said the following of McLeod:

If Merkley stays down for an extended period, however, I would be quite disappointed. He has been an active player with his ice time, and his tenacity is exactly what the Devils need to stay watchable these last 20 games. Personally, I think a line of Merkley, McLeod, and Anderson would have been a fun fourth line. Hopefully he gets a call-up before too long.

Rundown of All Intra-Roster Transactions:

I am glad to see Dakota Mermis get the extended look over Colton White, as White has been a black hole of possession at even strength too often to justify NHL minutes. A lot of that has come with Connor Carrick, who should probably be given some competition at this point of the season as well. Regardless, I think the only thing in White’s game that is NHL-ready is his penalty killing.

Red Wings’ Moves: The Detroit Red Wings will also be without some of their familiar faces from now on, as defenseman Mike Green and forward Andreas Athanasiou have been traded.

If Sam Gagner makes his Red Wings debut tonight, he might not have a very good time playing with the Red Wings’ roster. He is not a scoring threat anymore, with five goals and seven assists in 36 games for Edmonton this season. To Gagner’s credit, he still has a +4.3 relative CF% - but I don’t expect him to do much with Detroit.

Dmytro Timashov is not a proven NHLer. Detroit claimed him off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 39 games this season, the 23-year old Timashov has four goals and five assists in just 8:02 of ice time per game. He also has a 47.0 CF% (-6.2 relative), so it should be interesting to see how he plays in Detroit’s system.

Your Thoughts: What do you think about tonight’s game? Do you think the Devils will win? Are you happy with who is on the roster tonight? Is there anyone there who should not have been after the deadline? How do you think Claesson will compare to our other defenders? How do you feel about Merkley being sent to the AHL and Janne Kuokkanen starting there? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.