Usually FA binge day isn’t on the weekend, the last time I remember being home for July 1 was an ill-fated FA period for the Devils in 2012. Granted, they didn’t lose key FA Zach Parise till the actual holiday on the 4th but that’s still what I associate with that offseason free agency. More often it seems like the Devils lose more than they gain in FA, and that might even be true this year though their two biggest FA’s are the middling John Moore and the suddenly-popular Patrick Maroon who saw little interest in the trade deadline (we got him for a third-rounder after nobody else even called Edmonton on him) – but has no fewer than six teams interested in him now.
Although it’s been quiet vis-a-vis rumors in Devil-land, the only concrete one seems to be that they’re among the teams with interest in Maroon and bringing him back. But at what price? If Maroon has that many suitors hard for me to see Ray Shero getting into a bidding war for a slow 30-year old winger that isn’t exactly the prototype for the Devils’ speed-based system, but did seem to fit in pretty well during his brief period after the trade deadline. If you’re looking for big fish Maroon, the Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk and the Isles’ Calvin deHaan might be as big as you can get. With John Carlson re-signing with the Caps and John Tavares ruling out the Devils – and a lot of other teams – before FA, the two really big fish will be off the market by July 1 unless JT is actually leaving the Island.
Where that leaves the Devils is anyone’s guess but mine is that you probably won’t see a lot from Shero until JT signs and some of the dust settles among the second-tier FA’s. Just because he hasn’t made a big trade yet, doesn’t mean he won’t. It’s been around this time the last couple years where Shero struck with trades for Taylor Hall and Marcus Johansson. I’d prefer to improve via trades than FA, especially since Shero’s record has largely been good there, Michael Grabner dud excepted. I could see him making a run for the guys I mentioned though it would be against the grain for Shero to give out long-term deals to older players.
With the weather touching triple digits on Sunday I’ll be indoors with air conditioning tuning back and forth between the World Cup and NHLN for the free agency news, but as with every July 1 I more or less have to expect the worst and hope for anything better.