Sometimes it just takes a tweak to keep a good thing going - and New Jersey seems to have found that tweak in bringing in Anthony Beauvillier.
On December 28th, New Jersey Devils GM Corey Chernuka pulled the trigger on a deal, trading Vladimir Tarasenko to the Washington Capitals for Anthony Beauvillier and a 2nd round pick in 2023.
While the 30-year-old Tarasenko struggled last season after coming over in a trade from Boston, he was able to pick up his game this year with the Devils, scoring 22 points in 28 games. Even with the increased production, it was no secret that Tarasenko was having trouble meshing with his teammates in the room. There was also concern over his injury history and that he’d once again hit an extended cold streak.
Anthony Beauvillier is younger at 24 years old and is a restricted free agent at the end of his paltry $2.5M contract. While he doesn’t have the experience of Tarasenko, he has the potential to be a better player, if developed correctly.
Beauvillier has seen first-line ice time with Jonathan Toews in his first 9 games with the New Jersey Devils. Beauvillier has notched 2 goals and 7 assists for 9 points in 9 games. But more importantly, the Devils have found their groove again, going 6-2-2 since the trade. The Devils currently sit tops in the Metro Division with 49 points and are tied for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.
Chernuka met with the media to discuss his thoughts on the team as they approach the halfway mark of the season:
“Overall, we are pleased with the club’s play so far," said the Devils GM. "We’ve had some bumps along the way. Nugent-Hopkins and Toews are rolling on at a point-per-game pace which is good to see.
"Defensively, we are pleased with (K'Andre) Miller holding his own with his first year with the big club. Moving forward, we expect the team to find another gear, and we will be looking at making some tweaks as we look for another deep playoff run this season."
Rumors suggest that the Devils might be looking to make a splash for a big-name defenseman between now and the trade deadline.