As I’ve said before, fixing the defense of the New Jersey Devils would be a high priority this offseason in the rebuilding process. General manager Tom Fitzgerald is a man of his word and made a very smart trade tonight with the Colorado Avalanche by acquiring defenseman Ryan Graves for forward Mikhail Maltsev and the Devils second round draft pick in this year’s NHL draft. Below is the trade announcement from the New Jersey Devils and my thoughts on this evening’s trade:
Trade announcement from the New Jersey Devils
What do I think?
This is a fantastic trade by GM Tom Fitzgerald and the New Jersey Devils. Not trying to sound like a broken record, but it’s worth repeating that getting the defense fixed was going to be a top priority and the next step in the rebuilding of this franchise. Tom Fitzgerald stayed true to his word on that. The Devils are taking advantage of the fact that the Colorado Avalanche could have potentially lost Ryan Graves for nothing to the Seattle Kraken in the upcoming expansion draft and also needed to clear up salary cap space as well. They wanted to get something for a very talented defenseman like Graves instead of losing him for nothing. It also helped that New Jersey has plenty of draft picks, prospects, and salary cap space to make a move like this happen. I don’t feel like the Devils gave up the farm here by parting with only a second round pick as they have a couple of first round picks this year and Mikhail Maltsev who I see at best as a bottom six forward.
As for Ryan Graves the player and defenseman, he is really going to help out on the back end for the Devils. Graves is very reliable in his own end and can play in all situations as he led the NHL in plus minus two seasons ago (+ 40), adds size and strength (6 foot 5 inches, 220lbs), and is very positionally sound. What also makes this move great is he’s still young only being twenty-six years old and can grow with this group as they work towards being a Stanley Cup caliber type of team. The left side of the New Jersey Devils defense looks really good now with Graves, Ty Smith, and Jonas Siegenthaler back there. I want to see the Devils find a way to get another team whether it be the Kraken or whoever to take PK Subban off their hands whose game keeps declining. The right side of the defense needs a right handed shooting defenseman to really help make it successful. Maybe the Devils go after Dougie Hamilton or David Savard? We’ll have to wait and see what happens but either one of those names would be a huge help on the right side of the Devils defense. This move tells you there are more to come for the New Jersey Devils and I’ll keep you posted as they happen right here at TXHT.