11 Thoughts And Ideas: Intro Column

On Saturday, the NHL qualifiers in Edmonton and Toronto got underway. Having seen the NHL comeback after a pause in play during the middle of March is the first part that come to thought. One of the big variables at stake are conditional draft picks which I’ll follow up on rather shortly. 

The Carolina Hurricanes are playing the New York Rangers in the play-in round. In the Sami Vatanen trade, the Devils are relying on the current fourth-round conditional pick from Carolina.

Conditions: New Jersey receives a 2020 fourth-round pick if Vatanen plays in five regular season games this season. The pick upgrades to a 2020 third-round pick if Vatanen plays in 12 regular-season games this year, or if Carolina makes the playoffs and he plays in 70% of their playoff games.

Rich Graessle/Getty Images North America

The result, according to CapFriendly, would be that no pick is transferred as the condition isn’t met.

  • 1. Devils fans would like to see the Nashville Predators beat the Arizona Coyotes. That’s due to the fact that New Jersey conditionally holds Arizona’s first-round pick. If Arizona doesn’t win the draft lottery at first overall, then the Devils have a lot of ammo to shop or pick with it.
  • 2. If Arizona does win the NHL Draft Lottery, the Devils will receive the 2021 Coyotes draft pick that’s unprotected.
  • 3. Another nugget of info on the Taylor Hall Conditions, as per CapFriendly, is that the third-round pick can upgrade to a second if the Coyotes win a playoff round, or if Taylor Hall re-signs in Arizona. The pick upgrades to a first if Hall re-signs and the Coyotes win a playoff round.
  • 4. The key variable that seems likely to occur with Taylor Hall and Coyotes ownership is that Hall is likely going to re-sign, giving New Jersey next year’s second-round pick. If Hall and the Coyotes do make it past the first round of playoffs, then the Devils get Arizona’s first-round pick in 2021.
  • 5. In the Canucks first-round pick that the Devils received from the Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey still has the potential to select a really high quality player. The other part could be utilized as part of a trade package. Tom Fitzgerald and company should be watching very closely in this round because if the Canucks don’t make it past the play in round then New Jersey gets Vancouver’s 2021 first.
  • 6. A more near term outcome that is likely to occur would be Vancouver wins the play in round that Tom Fitzgerald keeps Vancouver’s first in the 2020 NHL Draft.
  • 7. What is likely to occur whether the worst occurs with New Jersey’s conditionals is that there is a lot of value still. Tom Fitzgerald can bargain and go after cap strapped teams and make a big bold move for a young stud player under contract.
  • 8. Tom Fitzgerald, at best, with a bad outcome would likely use the 2021 assets from Vancouver, Arizona, New York, Buffalo’s fifth-rounder plus early picks. Fitzgerald could then try and trade up and get a plethora of amazing draft picks in bulk for years to come.
  • 9. The Devils keep all of Arizona and Vancouver’s first round picks and Carolina meets the Devils conditions, at best getting New Jersey that third-round pick due to the pick that upgrades depending on Vatanen’s bonus variables. That would be because Vatanen would play a key role with Carolina.
  • 10. The Devils draft Alex Holtz, Seth Jarvis and Jack Quinn in the first round. Tom Fitzgerald and his crew would be very excited to add two amazing shooters and three amazingly electric forwards. The organization could certainly use this both on the wings as well as at centre. This is if all if the conditionals are met by Vancouver and the Arizona Coyotes.
  • 11. Tom Fitzgerald hires a very defensive-minded assistant coach to compliment the young defence aligned by the Devils. Lindy Ruff has been a run and gun kind of hockey coach, using that style throughout his career. He helped guys like Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jonathan Klingberg get off on the right foot. I can already see Nico Hischier, Damon Severson and Jack Hughes improving under Ruff’s style of coaching. With an assistant coach hired by Fitzgerald who thinks defensively to work with Lindy Ruff, this could improve the Devils when they are with or without the puck.

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