Newark, NJ – It’s no secret that the New Jersey Devils have toyed with the idea of upgrading their goaltending. The fact that we still haven’t heard from general manager Tom Fitzgerald raises suspicions that he isn’t quite done with his “Hot Tom Summer” as Shayna Goldman of The Athletic calls it. On Monday following an active free agency weekend, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman provided a bit of a Connor Hellebuyck update as things in Winnipeg appear to be improving of late.
Didn’t you hear? It’s Hot Tom Summer. With each trade and signing, the Devils keep racking up wins. And they’re not done yet, giving all rival GMs more to fear.
You know what they say about dealing with the Devils…
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) June 28, 2023
It takes two to tango to make a trade. Fitzgerald has his foot in the door, however, isn’t in favor of forking over Hellebuyck’s wallet-emptying asking price in terms of AAV on his next contract. It’s been a waiting game on Fitzgerald’s end to this point as the Hellebuyck sweepstakes have carried on for a few weeks now. Maybe he’s waiting to see if Hellebuyck’s interest in going to a contending team will lower his asking price. However, according to Friedman, there’s been a shift in spirit around the Winnipeg organization.
“The draft was over and there was a different feeling around the Jets,” Elliotte Friedman explains to Jeff Marek on 32 Thoughts the Podcast. “They got a first-round pick that a lot of people gave very positive reviews to. They made a trade that a lot of people gave them very positive reviews to. I think they just want to breathe. They want to talk with Hellebuyck, they want to talk with (Mark) Schiefele and kind of see where everyone is. Kevin Cheveldayoff’s instinct is not to rush into anything and I think they kind of just want to see how everyone reacts to this. I heard they just wanted to breathe after that week.”
So if you were hoping for some Hellebuyck news soon, don’t hold your breath. Now that the draft is over and the frenzy portion of free agency is behind us, Cheveldayoff can take his time with this. Perhaps with the aforementioned acquisitions by the Jets, Hellebuyck is more inclined to stay in Winnipeg. Or, maybe not. However, now the Jets GM has time to work on the Hellebuyck situation. He could, if he wants, create a bidding war with interested parties. For now, the Devils’ goaltending situation remains as is. It’s Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid until it’s not.
It is just the fifth day of free agency, however, another reminder that there’s plenty of time left to make an acquisition, whoever that may be.
Let’s get to some news.
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Hockey Now: Elliotte Friedman is high on the Devils. Fitzgerald has kept his salary cap situation squeaky clean and as a result, Friedman says New Jersey is a perennial Stanley Cup contender.
National Hockey Now
San Jose Sharks
San Jose Hockey Now: Thomas Bordeleau is one of the Sharks’ top prospects. He’s flirted with finding a regular role in the NHL but hasn’t quite claimed one. According to the 21-year-old, it’s time to show San Jose what he can do.
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers were fooling around with the idea of cleaning house. As a result, Travis Sanheim drew plenty of interest from other clubs. However, according to Flyers GM Daniel Briere, Sanheim is now off the trade block.
Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Hockey Now: Steve Yzerman was one of the more active GMs on day one of free agency. As a result, Filip Zadina hit waivers. Despite risking losing the former sixth overall pick, Yzerman is happy to keep Zadina in the organization.
Washington Hockey Now: Martin Fehervary made a name for himself on the Capitals blueline last season. As a result, Washington signs the 23-year-old defenseman to a three-year contract extension.
Montreal Hockey Now: David Reinbacher wasn’t Montreal Canadiens fans favorite choice when he was selected fifth overall at the 2023 NHL Draft. However, he’s proving the Canadiens faithful wrong with a strong showing at his first NHL rookie camp.
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