Well, here we are again.  The Devils are beginning to tailspin out of playoff contention. Odds are all in favor of the Devils missing the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year.  Here is a preview of what to expect at the trade deadline out of Ray Shero and company.

Likeliest Trade: Kyle Quincey for a 3rd round pick

Kyle Quincey has not been great this year.  He has been slow and clumsy at times, but what did we all expect?  He was brought in to be a temporary plug at training camp.  Five months later, he has proven to be just that. Teams with Cup aspirations all know that injuries happen and it is important to have at least seven, maybe even eight, competent defensemen for the trek of the playoffs.  Kyle Quincey will be shipped off some time soon and will fetch a 3rd round pick.  Not a major move, but good for Shero turning a camp tryout into draft equity.  Nothing wrong with that.

Realistic Trade: Mike Cammalleri for a 2nd round pick

Cammalleri’s game has clearly depleted this year.  He is currently mired in a huge goal scoring drought, but do not be shocked to see a decent return for Cammy. Cammy is locked up after this season for two more years at five million per year. The biggest complication in moving Cammy is finding a suitor to take on a relatively hefty contract. Maybe this contract will turn some teams off (in all likelihood it will).  Though the contract is not team friendly, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Shero retain some salary.  While some fans may eager to trade Cammy just for the sake of doing so, Shero should not budge and accept anything less than a second round pick.

The Devils are extremely flexible when it comes to cap space.  10 million over the next two years is nothing to worry about if Cammy can still provide middle six offense.  Even in what has been a bad year, Cammy still has 30 points in 54 games (46 points in a full 82 games). Trading away a source of offense, for the team ranked 28th in GF60, should not be a part of the plan unless an enticing return has been presented to Shero.

We just saw Minnesota trade the house for ~twenty games of Martin Hanzal, and Ottawa trade a top level prospect for Alexandre Burrows.  Heck, even Brian Boyle got a return of a second round pick.  This season, Hanzal has 26 points and Burrows only 20.  Meanwhile Cammalleri has racked up 30 points in an ice cold year.  The market for offense has been greatly inflated this deadline, and teams are becoming devoid of options.  Do not be shocked to see the Devils get back a nice package for Mike Cammalleri.

Trade With Some “Complications”: P.A. Parenteau for a 3rd round pick.

P.A. Parenteau has been a pleasant surprise for the Devils this year.  Just like Lee Stempniak last year, Parenteau stepped in during camp and has provided a spark in the middle six. Through all of this though, it appears that Parenteau’s time with the Devils is up. Parenteau can provide third line scoring spark for a number of teams, and with the exorbitant prices some teams are paying, there is no reason Parenteau can not fetch a second round pick himself.  The complications of trading Parenteau are referenced in the tweet below. However, there have been a lot of rumblings saying that Parenteau was NOT claimed by any other team when he was placed on waivers.  We will find out shortly if this is true.

Best Possible Trade: Tampa Bay Lightning send Valtteri Filppula and Vladislav Namestnikov, in exchange for 2nd round pick in 2017 and Josh Jacobs

While this trade is extremely lopsided in terms of on ice impact, there is more going on here than just hockey. Realistically, this trade probably will not happen, but this is definitely something to think about in the coming days and prior to the expansion draft.

The Devils are in a position to feast off of the expansion draft. With loads of cap space and picks, it would be shrewd of Shero to entice teams into shipping off big contracts coupled with young talent.  We have seen Shero use a teams’ depth or desperation against them before.  At the 2015 draft, Shero was able to pry Kyle Palmieri from a log jam of right wingers in Anaheim. He only gave up a second and third round draft pick for a young scoring winger.  Shero would be very wise to try and “help out” one of the teams in a tough spot at the hands of the Vegas expansion draft.

Take Tampa Bay’s situation, for example.  Tampa is going to have to protect: Steven Stamkos (NMC), Ryan Callahan (NMC) and Valtteri Filppula (NMC).  These are musts, due to the nature of their contracts.  Now, Tampa must pick their poison of only protecting four of the following forwards: Jonathan Drouin, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Vladislav Namestnikov, and JT Brown.  However, what if the Devils stepped in to try and alleviate the Lightning’s cluster of forwards and expansion draft crisis?  The Devils could use their bevy of picks and favorable expansion draft position to take on the NMC of Filppula (UFA after 2018).  They can use this deal as a way to steal one of the Lightning’s young talented forwards.  Steve Yzerman is in a bind.  This trade gives the Lightning 5 million in cap room this summer and the opportunity to protect Alex Killorn.

The Devils, on the other hand, get Filppula (who can realistically be a second line center) and can possibly get Namestnikov.  Namestnikov is a versatile player and good skater.  His physical game goes unnoticed, and he scored 35 points last year on a crowded Tampa roster.  Namestnikov can excel and become a 45-50 point guy with more ice in Jersey.  The offer I wrote up as a proposal to Tampa is more or less arbitrary.  Yzerman can’t afford any more roster players.  He already has a core of forwards unprotected and many players in need of contracts.  A second round pick and a good defensive prospect in his first year as a pro is basically all Tampa can accept.

The Devils have cap room and are at no risk of losing someone to the expansion draft. Lets see if Shero can use the Devils’ freedom to their advantage this trade deadline.

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