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Devils Trade Board: 3 Defenseman Worth Trading the 10th Overall Pick For

If the Devils opt to trade the 10th overall pick, here are three defenseman worth moving it for.



New Jersey Devils

When the New Jersey Devils became locked in at 10th overall in the 2024 NHL Draft at Tuesday’s lottery, it raised more questions than answers. The Devils are one of the youngest teams in the NHL and are on the brink of turning into a perennial playoff team. Therefore, it raises the question as to whether or not they need to draft a player at 10th overall or trade it away to address a need.

In terms of Devils draft targets, there’s a bevy of talent that General Manager Tom Fitzgerald can choose from if he decides to keep his first-round pick in 2024.

However, it’s not unreasonable to think that Fitzgerald could scour the trade market by dangling the 10th overall selection, perhaps in a package depending on the magnitude of the deal.

Frankly, the Devils have a lot to address this summer if they plan on returning to their 2022-23 status. They’ll need a top-six forward after losing Tyler Toffoli, they certainly need a defenseman to help shore up the blue line, and the goaltending situation is well-documented.

Focusing on the blue line, here are three Devils trade targets Fitzgerald should aim for ahead of or on the NHL Draft floor.

Mattias Samuelsson

It’s probably going to take more than the 10th overall pick to acquire Buffalo Sabres defenseman, Mattias Samuelsson.

However, the juice is certainly worth the squeeze.

The Sabres extended Samuelsson — a defenseman they drafted with the first pick in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft — to a seven-year contract with a $4.285 average annual value that started last summer.

The 6-foot-4, 230 lb defenseman hit the shelf at the beginning of February due to injury. The Sabres then went out and acquired defenseman Bowen Byram from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for center Casey Mittelstadt.

As a result, the Sabres are loaded with left-handed defensemen and can afford to cut one loose. Despite Samuelsson’s long-term extension, Buffalo isn’t cutting ties with the newly acquired Byram, Rasmus Dahlin, or Owen Power. Additionally, the Sabres have some hefty expiring contracts to consider soon for Byram, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Peyton Krebs, Jack Quinn, & J.J. Peterka just to name a few.

That makes Samuelsson a perfect Devils trade target. The Swedish defenseman was born in Voorhees, New Jersey, and is the kind of blue liner the Devils lack. Standing tall and firm, Samuelsson is a physical, stay-at-home defenseman who will certainly help make the job of the Devils’ goaltending a lot easier.

Samuelsson isn’t going to collect a ton of points. However, the Devils are covered in that area with Dougie Hamilton, Luke Hughes, and Simon Nemec. Instead, he’s a large presence on the defensive end of the ice, something New Jersey could certainly use, and they’d get him at a great cost at the ripe age of 24 years old.

Shea Theodore

The thing about the Vegas Golden Knights is that there are no strings attached to anyone.

Anyone except Jonathan Marchessault, apparently.

Word is Vegas wants to bring the original misfit forward who scored 42 goals in 2023-24 and won the Conn Smythe award en route to their Stanley Cup victory in 2023.

But, how are they going to do that with *checks notes* — $897,516 in cap space this summer?

Kevin Allen via Vegas Hockey Now brings up a good point. Acquiring and extending Noah Hanifin at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline makes it an easier pill to swallow for Vegas to move on from Shea Theodore.

Enter the Devils.

The Devils certainly had a hard time last season without their No.1 defenseman when Hamilton went down with injury. That’s not to say Theodore will be a defensive stalwart that could have cured New Jersey’s defensive issues. However, he’s a proven top-four defenseman who at the very least would have helped move the puck out of the defensive zone far more often than the Devils did last season.

Theodore is entering the last season of his contract with a $5.25 million cap hit. He’ll be due for a bit of a raise, but Fitzgerald has typically been good at managing his contract extensions to reasonable numbers.

If Theodore becomes available as he could be the odd man out on Vegas’ blue line, bringing in another Stanley Cup Champion would certainly provide a boost on the blue line, making him a a viable Devils trade target.

Jakob Chychrun

When defenseman Jakob Chychrun was asked about his future with the Ottawa Senators, his response was less than encouraging that he was going to remain up North.

Chychrun is headed into the final year of his contract with a $4.6 million cap hit.

“I have one more year. I’m really just focused on that and seeing how things go,” Chychrun responded to Ottawa media at Senators exit meetings. “This year was frustrating for us as a group. We had high expectations, high hopes and we weren’t able to perform to that level.”

Since his days in Arizona, the 26-year-old defenseman has been the centerfold of trade speculation. That’s not because of poor play or negative presence in the locker room, however. Instead, it was due to the bargain contract he was under when he signed with the Arizona Coyotes for six years at a $4.6 million AAV.

Now, the speculation has risen again after his comments on his future in Ottawa, and the Senators’ inability to claim a playoff spot this year after the expectations were set high as a team.

Similarly to Theodore, Chychrun is another good puck-moving defenseman who can help keep the puck from danger on his own end of the ice. Contrastingly to Theodore, Chychrun’s analytics suggest he’s a bit of a better defender, especially from his days when he was playing on an inept Arizona team.

In 82 games last season, Chychrun scored 14 goals and 41 points with Ottawa. He’s likely looking to settle down after years of uncertainty regarding his future. If Fitzgerald can acquire and then sign the 26-year-old defenseman, he’s certainly a Devils trade candidate who will upgrade the New Jersey blue line.

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