Expansion Draft: New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils:
When you look at the available player list for the Devils there are not too many talented players and there is a clear lack of forward depth on the team. The best available forwards are Michael Cammaleri who has two years remaining on his $5 million/year contract and the hardnosed grinder in Devante Smith-Pelly who is a bit younger at the age of 25 and has only a $1.3 million cap hit for only one year remaining on his contract. Given that Cammaleri is on the downward slope of his career and Smith-Pelly’s lack of production over the course of his career, it is in Vegas’ best interest to choose from one of the defencemen available made by the Devils. The two that stick out are Jon Merril and Ben Lovejoy. Merril is a left handed 25 year old with just over 200 NHL career games under his belt but has yet to provide a full season of work or a positive +/- season and has one year remaining on his $1.1 million dollar contract. Vegas will opt for the Stanley cup winning defencemen in Ben Lovejoy who has been privileged to playing with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and many other high caliber players on those two teams bouncing back and forth during his 9 year career. His 30+ games of playoff experience along with ability to stay healthy over the course of most seasons will be a valued asset to the Vegas team while providing some leadership to the younger oriented Golden Knights. Lovejoy will be coming in with a price tag of $2.75 million for the next two years and will be a bottom pair consistent defenceman.
Coaster’s Pick: Ben Lovejoy