After the New Jersey Devils selected elite franchise centerman Jack Hughes from the USNTDP team first overall, hockey pundits from across TSN, Sportsnet, etc., were mentioning the possibility of veteran P.K. Subban being traded. Yet the next morning my Twitter blew up with multiple sources confirming P.K. Subban to New Jersey. That was for three years, $27 million for Jeremy Davies, Steven Santini, P.K. Subban and the 34th overall pick.
My reaction to the Subban acquisition was very positive and yet I also have been getting calls from the New Jersey Devils ticketing sales reps to sign up for a membership. The next big move came with the signing of right-winger Wayne Simmonds from the Preds in Nashville. For years, Wayne Simmonds has been the thorn in the Devils side for all the garbage goals and power play moments that got me riled up over the years. Yet now I get to watch the veteran winger in Simmonds bringing skill, scoring and leadership to a rather young Devils core.
Acquiring Nikita Gusev has been a mega pickup for Ray Shero and the New Jersey Devils roster because this team officially has two top six left-wing shooters with him and Taylor Hall anchoring those slots. Gusev has been a well-known shooter, scorer and playmaker who can transition very well similarly, if not, better than Artemi Panarin in his first few seasons in the NHL. The energy around the Devils social media and news has been nothing but positive vibes. Devils social media content manager Chris Wescott was on The “Lets Go Devils” Podcast the other day, mentioning the way the Devils front office staff and their fans (including myself) have been saying “Is it October yet.”
Fans have made it known that the skill and energy that Ray Shero has been adding since an abysmal 2018 offseason is beginning to pay big dividends for the New Jersey Devils roster thus far. Now, if I am a season ticket rep, my pitch is, “You have a 1-2 punch in Hischier – Hughes for the next 10-20 seasons at least.” Gusev, Hall, Simmonds, Bratt, Palmieri, Subban, Severson, Vatanen and Butcher are all offensive threats on offence and defence. This team has the potential to be a true playoff contender. Blackwood and Schneider both competing for the starting job in goal will only force each other to play their very best game in and game out.
Thus far, the moves Ray Shero has made, especially trying to get Taylor Hall to re-sign on the dotted line, is more likely in view, but if he doesn’t re-sign, I expect a huge blockbuster deal. This potential move will provide an offensive threat and depth in skill via assets like a few high-end prospects with a few early picks.