ESPN.com’s Kristen Shilton looked at what happens now for the New Jersey Devils, a team who showed major improvement this past regular season, got past the New York Rangers in the first round of the NHL playoffs, and then fell short to the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 2. A young NHL team just now gaining important playoff experience, the Devils should be good for a long time if they play their cards right and make sound summertime decisions.
Among the key decisions will be what to do with the recently-acquired Timo Meier.
First, Shilton says the Devils will need to decide if Meier is going to be a part of the team’s long-term future. It’s a big decision based both upon cost and what other things the Devils feel they’d like to do. And, that Meier didn’t exactly light the world on fire when he arrived and throughout the playoffs doesn’t make the organization’s decision any easier. With two goals and four points in 11 games, the Devils were likely expecting he would be more of a contributor on offense. He did some great things, but the scoring wasn’t there, especially considering he’d come over from San Jose where he potted 31 goals in 57 games this season.
Without knowing if Meier will be a 40-goal guy each and every year, it’s hard to know how much to invest in a player that needs a $9 million qualifying offer at the minimum or just over $8 million per season for seven or eight seasons on a long-term deal. If the Devils choose not to go there, they’ll have a short window of time to try and trade him ahead of the NHL Draft, recouping as many of the assets as they can that they spent to land him in a trade deadline deal.
Devils Have Other Business to Attend To
A deal for Meier or a trade that includes him isn’t the only thing GM Tom Fitzgerald has to imminently take care of. Shilton writes:
New Jersey has other contract negotiations on the horizon. Miles Wood, Damon Severson and Ryan Graves are among the unrestricted free agents, and GM Tom Fitzgerald will want to be strategic in how he’s building around the Devils’ burgeoning core. New Jersey took big steps this season and no one wants to see a step backward.
Next: How Ryan Reynolds’ Bid to Purchase The Senators Fell Apart
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