With free agency running its course, general managers in BEARD Hockey showed no restraint when it came to offering big bucks to players.
The likes of Taylor Hall, JT Miller, and Brady Skjei all going for over $10 Million YCV.
With limited cap space, the New Jersey Devils could just sit back and nibble around the edges. Ultimately, that also turned out to be too pricey as well.
New Jersey’s lone unrestricted free agency signing was depth goaltender Garret Sparks, who will man the pipes on the Utica Comets with fellow goaltenders Pheonix Copley and Ian Scott.
Instead, the Devils made some trades, bringing in Troy Stecher on defense, Kevin Labanc on forward, moving out aging defenseman Kris Russell for forward Alexander Wenneberg and a 4th round pick.
New Jersey lost some high-profile deadline acquisitions in Taylor Hall and Mike Hoffman to UFA. With only $5.5 million in cap space, it was simply not possible to bring either of them back. Instead, the New Jersey Devils were able to extend Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Alex Killorn.
It’s no secret that the Devils will likely take a step back this season, and will instead be looking to fill some of the holes from within. Expect Ilya Mikheyev to be given a bigger role on the team after a breakout season last year. The Devils will also look to promote Pontus Aberg and K’Andre Miller from the farm.
GM Corey Chernuka released a statement to the media.
"Our cap situation just didn’t allow for us to dip into free agency as much as we would have liked. We had some preliminary sniffs on a few players, but the offers quickly escalated to 'ridiculous'. We have a fixed budget to work with, and have to make smart financial decisions for the club this year, with an eye on the future as well.
"We will continue to watch the market and see if there are any deals that make sense for our club, but we are comfortable heading into the season with the club that you see before you.
Last season, we were stuck up against the cap, and our flexibility was limited as a result. We wanted to head into this season with a bit of a buffer, this will allow us to make adjustments throughout the season.
"We will be counting on significant contributions from K’Andre Miller and Ethan Bear on defense, as well as Illya Mikheyev, Kevin Labanc on forward."