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Report: Devils Division Rival Could End Up Sellers at NHL Trade Deadline, What it Means for New Jersey

The Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly listen on all of their players outside of “the core.” Here’s how that helps the New Jersey Devils.



New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils have been on a roller coaster ride since they returned from the All-Star break. Nico Daws and Co. have accrued a 4-3-1 record since Feb. 6th and have on some nights made their fans a believer in them again, and on other nights have ripped that encouragement away. It seems like sometimes the Devils haven’t been able to get out of their own way. However, they soon might have one less obstacle as one of their division rivals might voluntarily step out of their way in the playoff race.

According to a report, the Pittsburgh Penguins could end up becoming sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline. According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun on the latest Insider Trading, general manager Kyle Dubas is seemingly listening on all of his players, excluding “the core.”

“From talking to people around the league over the last couple of days, Kyle Dubas is listening on pretty much everyone on his roster other than his core guys,” LeBrun explained. “That still leaves a lot of players that he’s listening on. For example, a player he’s listening on is Reilly Smith who is not a pending (unrestricted free agent). He’s got another year on his deal at $5 million next year. But, he’s a (Stanley) Cup champion, he has playoff experience and I know that may intrigue a few contenders, he’s somewhere on their list. So, the Penguins will be in sell mode to some degree between now and March 8th.”

Smith, one of the players Dubas is listening to offers on, is struggling this season with just 10 goals and 23 points in 47 games. However, the 32-year-old is known as a clutch goal-scorer and the Penguins could certainly receive a bit of value in return.

Regardless, the Penguins potentially selling over the next two-plus weeks certainly has its implications for the Devils. Currently, the Penguins sit four points back of the Devils in the Eastern Conference Standings with two games in hand on New Jersey. However, if the Penguins do, in fact, sell, they’re essentially bowing out for the remainder of the season.

As a result, that would be one less team the Devils need to worry about to sneak into the playoffs. Although, Dubas is reportedly not going to move the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Erik Karlsson. Despite the Penguins underperforming, it’s a fool’s errand to count out any Crosby-led team.

If and when the Penguins sell-off, the Devils are essentially in a five-team foot race for playoff position with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, New York Islanders, and Washington Capitals.

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