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Garden State of Hockey- Episode 138: Defensemen for Days

The Devils drafted a lot of new defensemen.

2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This episode is packed with draft coverage and free agency coverage that will inevitably be irrelevant in the few hours between this episode being posted and the free agency window opening at noon Eastern today. The New Jersey Devils loaded up on defensemen at the draft and continue to do business with their restricted free agents. They also bought out the contract of Janne Kuokkanen to free up some space in the forward logjam. Last but not least, they made a trade to acquire goaltender Vitek Vanecek from Washington to platoon with what the Devils hope is a very much revitalized Mackenzie Blackwood.

Hopefully the Devils can add a significant piece either today or before the season starts because there are more improvements to make. We’re all hoping for the best but as we said in the episode, remember that unrestricted free agency means the choice is ultimately up to the player. Stay civil and expect disappointment so you can be pleasantly surprised.

As always, leave all comments, concerns, and suggestions in the comments. And yes, our apologies for not acknowledging Devils legend Ryan Murray’s time on the cup-winning Colorado Avalanche in our last episode. We’ll make sure to talk about the notion of “grit and sandpaper” in an upcoming episode as well.

Let’s Go Devils!