New Jersey Devils: A Trade Deadline to Forget?

Another trade deadline has come and gone. The New Jersey Devils made a few, inconsequential deals today. If you want to label them as sellers, go ahead.

This morning, the Devils traded defenseman Kyle Quincey to the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Dalton Prout. Quincey was signed to a 1-year, $1.25 million deal and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Quincey had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 53 games played this season. The main advantage (or to some people, the only advantage) is that Prout signed a two-year contract extension ($3.15 million) last summer and is eligible to be exposed in the Vegas expansion draft. Prout also brings a more physical presence to New Jersey’s defense. More likely than not, New Jersey will choose to expose Prout this summer. New Jersey does also play Columbus three times this month so they will see Quincey three more times before the season is over. Seth Helgeson was assigned to Albany (AHL) so Prout will likely make his Devils debut tomorrow night against the Capitals.

They also traded forward P.A. Parenteau, claimed off of waivers in October, to the Nashville Predators for a conditional sixth-round pick. This trade was arguably the most surprising given that New Jersey also traded with Nashville earlier this season when they sent Vern Fiddler back to Nashville for a fourth-round pick in this year’s entry-level draft. Fiddler is also on a 1-year, $1.25 million contract. Parenteau, with 59 games played this season, had 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists). The only major problem I have with this trade is that the return seems a little too low. Nashville supposedly didn’t have a fourth-round pick but I would’ve accepted a fifth-round pick. Parenteau did say he liked playing in Jersey so I would not be surprised if he inked a deal to come back to the Devils during the offseason.

And last but not last, New Jersey also traded defenseman Reece Scarlett in exchange for forward Shane Harper from the Florida Panthers in a minor-league deal. Scott Wedgewood will probably miss his roommate (of four years!) the most. Harper will report directly to Albany (AHL). Harper did make his NHL debut this season (against the Devils). The Devils will not see the Predators or the Panthers for the remainder of the season.

All-in-all, it wasn’t a “great” trade deadline. Trading Quincey or Parenteau wasn’t unexpected; the returns were. GM Ray Shero is stockpiling draft picks; the Devils now have 11 (11!) picks in this year’s draft, including one first, two seconds, two thirds, and two fourths. However, they likely won’t have all of those picks going into the draft. Shero is probably going to make another Taylor Hall-type trade or bring in a Top-6 forward or a Top-4 defenseman, which would both fill some holes.

Hopefully these moves will allow the rookies and younger players more playing time. With five weeks left in the season and the playoff picture almost complete (without the Devils in it), it’s time to look forward to next season.

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