The New Jersey Devils have had a relatively uneventful offseason when you consider the fact that there were some very positive signs for that team coming out of the 2017 - 2018 National Hockey League regular season. On Wednesday however New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero spoke to the media and addressed the lack of moves on his part this summer and his comments made it clear that the quiet summer was not part of the plan for the New Jersey Devils.
We know that Shero had received a green light from ownership to spend right up to the cap after the strong performance from his young team and, although Shero didn't make any big ticket free agent signings this summer, he admitted on Wednesday that there had been two moves that he tried, and failed, to make. Shero was looking to add some veteran forwards to play along with his young next this season but both guys eventually ended up signing elsewhere.
The first move Shero tried to make will come as little surprise, according to Shero he attempted to retain veteran forward Patrick Maroon. Sher and the Devils acquired Maroon from the Edmonton Oilers prior to the National Hockey League's trade deadline and it seems that they were happy with the results that move produced. Shero admitted that the Devils had offered Maroon more money than he eventually took with the St. Louis Blues so you can't blame Shero for a lack of effort here. Maroon reportedly signed with his hometown St. Louis Blues in order to be closer to his son during the regular season and Shero showed great class by expressing how happy he was for Maroon and his son.
All due respect to Patrick Maroon though he is not what you would consider a high impact player, despite the fact that he brings his physical attributes as well as his skill, but the other move that Shero tried to pull off would definitely have fit that description. Shero also told the assemble members of the media that he had made an attempt to sign former Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk.
The addition of van Riemsdyk would have provided the Devils with another potent offensive weapon to deploy, and one that could have been used to relieve some of the pressure off of star forward Taylor Hall. Hall is coming off an incredible season and captured the Hart Memorial Trophy as the National Hockey League's most valuable player and that likely means that teams in the league will be committing extra resources to shutting him down come the 2018 - 2019 regular season. van Riemsdyk could have slotted into the Devils second line, both he and Hall play on the left wing, and would have forced opposing teams to respect his goal scoring as well as the threat from Hall.
Unfortunately for Shero and the Devils though van Riemsdyk would go on to sign as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers and that's potentially 36 goals of offense that Shero lost out on. There's no other talent remaining on the free agent market for Shero to acquire that could potentially provide the impact of a JVR, but there have been rumors that the Devils now have interest in Tamapa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan. Those are just rumors at this time but it would make sense given the cap space that the Devils have and the potential sweetener they could get from the Lightning for relieving them of that cap hit.
Photo Credit: Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer