The New Jersey Devils have been a better story than anyone expected this season, jumping from the first-overall pick in June 2017 to third place in the Metropolitan Division as we sit here today. That unexpected success though often comes with hard decisions come the trade deadline, a situation Devils GM Ray Shero is familiar with.
When speaking with Mike Morreale of NHL.com, Shero was clear that he would not deviate from the long-term plan he had for the Devils before the season. He believes that his team will avoid the rental market at their current costs, but will stay open to “hockey deals” over the next few weeks. Shero of course already added Sami Vatanen in a surprising move earlier this season, trading away long time Devils forward Adam Henrique.
- Slater Koekkoek was afforded a rare opportunity to log some higher minute totals while Victor Hedman was out for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and GM Steve Yzerman believes he showed well in his limited exposure. Yzerman told Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet as much, who, in his latest 31 Thoughts column, suggested that the Ottawa Senators were among teams showing interest in the young defenseman. Koekkoek was selected 10th-overall in 2012 but has never been able to establish himself as a full-time NHL player. Scheduled to become a restricted free agent in the summer, perhaps the Lightning will look to give him another opportunity elsewhere.
- Speaking of opportunity, that’s all Jakub Jerabek wanted when he signed a contract with the Montreal Canadiens last offseason. Jerabek, 26, left the KHL after one excellent season in order to come to North America, and has acquitted himself well in his debut with Montreal and the Laval Rocket of the AHL. Eric Engels of Sportsnet reports that Jerabek very much enjoys playing in Montreal, and though no contract negotiations have taken place just yet, the player would welcome them at some point. Because of his advanced age, Jerabek was forced to sign just a one-year deal with the Canadiens, and will be an unrestricted free agent in July.