GM Corey Chernuka acquires his top-pairing defenseman in a four-player trade with the Maple Leafs earlier this week.
The New Jersey Devils have made their first trade in their BEARD Hockey League existence.
The Devils sent 26-year-old defenseman Adam Pelech and 32-year-old winger Pat Maroon to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for 26-year-old defensemen Jacob Trouba and 27-year-old forward Rocco Grimaldi. The deal frees up $3 million in cap space for the Leafs while the Devils grab a top pairing defenseman.
GM Chernuka made a statement to reporters at a media availability at Prudential Center:
“We are extremely pleased to be able to add a top pairing defenseman to our team in Jacob Trouba. He’s a young, talented defenseman that is just entering the prime of his career. He is punishing in front of the net and is also skilled enough to join the rush and be an offensive threat. We firmly believe that Jacob has not hit his true ceiling yet and will continue to develop into one of the best defenders in the league."
The opportunity to acquire a player of this magnitude is not something that happens every day. These moments define a General Manager’s tenure and forever change the makeup of a team. All deals have risk, whether it is on-ice performance, team chemistry, team culture, or financial matters that a GM must consider.
While it wasn’t an easy decision, New Jersey feels it’s the right decision for their team as a whole. Chernuka intentionally positioned the Devils to have cap space after the Dispersal Draft to give the club financial flexibility to make moves like this.
"We see Mattias Ekholm and Trouba as our top pairing shutdown defensemen," continued Chernuka, who recently was awarded GM of the Month for October by BEARD Hockey brass. "They will be our big minute munchers and face the opposition’s best players. This will allow Keith Yandle to drop to the second pair with Ethan Bear in a more sheltered role with better zone starts."
"Obviously, we are extremely sad to see Adam Pelech and Pat Maroon go. Adam has the ability to develop into a top-pairing defenseman one day and Patty has such heart, both on the ice and in the room. The New Jersey Devils organization wish both players all the best in Toronto."
Grimaldi is very similar to Maroon offensively, but lacks the physical side of the game and is five years younger. Grimaldi will have every opportunity to make the team out of camp, but competition for the bottom roster spots will be fierce.
"With the entry draft coming up in a week, we haven’t ruled out making some other changes to our roster, whether via trade or via signing," stated Chernuka. "We will see if anything comes to fruition in the next week. Thanks for your time and have a wonderful day.”