Newark, NJ – Let’s preface this by saying there is still a lot of time left this summer. It’s only the third day of free agency. There are still questions to be answered, however. As currently constructed, the New Jersey Devils will probably look like this if no there are no further changes:
Timo Meier – Nico Hischier – Dawson Mercer
Jesper Bratt – Jack Hughes – Tyler Toffoli
Ondrej Palat – Erik Haula – Alexander Holtz
Curtis Lazar – Michael McLeod – Nathan Bastian
Jonas Sigenthaler – Dougie Hamilton
Luke Hughes – John Marino
Kevin Bahl – Colin Miller
Or, at least some variation of that considering there are others that will be fighting for a roster position. Nolan Foote will be in the mix and could claim a forward spot. Brendan Smith also won’t go down without a fight to play as much as he can. And then there’s Simon Nemec who the Devils expect to push for a roster spot and he has a real chance to claim one.
If Nemec makes the roster, the Devils’ blueline is suddenly much less experienced than last season without Damon Severson and Ryan Graves. Perhaps it’s not an issue, but it’s not easy to step into the NHL without at least a few growing pains. And without upgrading the goaltending, you could see a few more goals get by Vanecek and Schmid if that is indeed the tandem heading into the regular season.
We haven’t heard from general manager Tom Fitzgerald yet. GMs tend to speak on the day free agency opens once they’ve made their moves. Perhaps Fitzgerald’s absence means he’s still cooking something up. Or, perhaps Fitzgerald spoke so much bringing back his own after he put on a masterclass the last few weeks that he doesn’t feel it necessary to address anything further. Time will tell.
Plenty went down around the rest of the NHL, yesterday.
Let’s dive in.
National Hockey Now
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The 2022-23 Penguins weren’t your usual Penguins. Kyle Dubas went out on the first day of free agency and wasn’t afraid to spend. Pittsburgh is looking much better, now.
Boston Hockey Now: Whether Matt Grzelcyk is available or not, it doesn’t matter to Bruins GM Don Sweeney. He’s quite frustrated with the chatter about the Bruins defenseman indicating the media potentially made it up.
Colorado Hockey Now: The Avalanche must have really seen something in former Devil Miles Wood to commit to him for six years. Here’s what to make of his long contract.
New York Islanders
NYI Hockey Now: The Islanders are looking to make hockey trades after bringing back all of their UFAs left them with little money to play with in free agency. They’re reportedly in heavy pursuit of Alex Debrincat.
Washington Hockey Now: Max Pacioretty missed all but five games last season. He scored three goals in those five games. He’s eager to return to form finding the back of the net with his new team.