No recap from my end today, for starters I didn’t watch most of the game. First time I turned on Hartford vs. Binghamton it was the middle of the second period, saw 3-0 and laughed – then turned it off again. I only turned it back on in the third period when the Devils finally started playing and got it to 3-1 with ten good minutes before sagging again. Typically when two teams are playing out the string, the team that wanted the game more got it. This afternoon it was the Rangers. I’m sure Derek’ll like doing that recap anyway.
Can’t even blame us trading/sitting everyone since the Rangers did the same thing with their outgoing deadline rentals. For some reason I don’t remember outright scratching players before the deadline as a major deal in prior years. Maybe cause teams either did their business when they could or let things play out. I don’t remember too many cases of guys getting hurt before the deadline costing their teams a big return. Admittedly I did fear that with Marcus Johansson which is why I haven’t minded him sitting the last two games.
With defenseman Ben Lovejoy, he only had to sit one game before finding out his fate – traded to Dallas this morning for a 3rd round pick and defenseman Connor Carrick. Carrick sounds like a depth defenseman, my buddy Rudy called him a Lovejoy-in-training. For the crap Lovejoy got from Devils fans, that would be a good career outcome but he’s an RFA at the end of the season so he’s likely on an audition along with most of the other young guys and role players here down the stretch.
There aren’t a lot of highlight videos of guys like Lovejoy to go back on and remember, he wasn’t a highlight reel type of guy obviously. His impact was more with the guys in the room and on being one of the leaders of a young team. I do remember his seeing eye empty-netter in Game 3 of the playoffs last year to help sew up our lone win against Tampa Bay. While I do want him to have success, the Stars missing the playoffs only helps the value of our third-rounder. I’m not as invested in Lovejoy as I would be in say, Brian Boyle. Who also has a better chance at winning in Nashville anyway.
With two days to go before the deadline GM Ray Shero’s arguably done 2/3 of the heavy lifting (Lovejoy, Boyle) and only Johansson is still in limbo waiting to find out his destination. If I had a prediction I’d say he fetches a 2 and a 4 or a 2 and a meh prospect. Which is actually more than I thought he’d get a month ago before he surged. I still don’t think he gets a first-rounder back though. Centers and defensemen get first rounders back. Maybe the occasional goalie like Dwayne Roloson, which turned out to be a good deadline deal for the Oilers in 2006. Playmaking wingers don’t generally fetch firsts though. It does sound like there’s a lot of interest in MarJo. Too bad he only got going as a Devil after the team fell out of things this year, but at least he got it going soon enough to up his value a little more.
Other than the aformentioned big three there aren’t any other big UFA’s likely to be dealt. Clearly whatever value Keith Kinkaid might have had a couple months ago has evaporated in a string of goals allowed. Might as well keep the emoji-master and have him as a sacrificial lamb to play when Cory Schneider doesn’t, and just keep Mackenzie Blackwood in the minors. Perhaps Shero pulls a rabbit out of a hat and deals someone who’s not a UFA to change things up. Nobody saw the Adam Henrique for Sami Vatanen trade coming last year, and that was back in November. Arguably that trade’s been a draw so far, with both players helping their new teams to the playoffs last year, but falling on hard times this year either struggling (Henrique) or hurt (Vatanen) for teams under the bubble.
Personally I’m hoping Johansson’s traded tonight so I don’t have to pay any more attention to the deadline during work on Monday than need be. Of course I say that and Shero’ll throw something else down the pike at the last minute. Obviously at least ‘something’ (MarJo) will be done then or before, especially judging by John Hynes comment in the wake of the Lovejoy deal hinting that hopefully more was to come. He certainly wasn’t talking about buying for a team that’s nine thousand points out of the playoffs, although with all the picks Shero’s accumulating maybe there’ll be some draft-day buying using those picks as currency at least.
Might just comment on what else happens with the Devils at the deadline during the post-Monday game recap, assuming there’s enough to actually write about after we play the Habs at home in front of about ten thousand people. For those of you that subscribe to the Athletic, they have a couple of nice insider pieces on what goes into the deadline, one of them talking with Devil players that have been traded before to get the player perspective and another talking with a handful of NHL GM’s into what negotiating and prep work goes on behind the scenes before and during the deadline. I swore for months I’d never pay for news, but tried a subscription half off for a year and it’s worth it just for the hockey content considering the lack of hockey news (especially Devils-related) in the mainstream media these days.