The New Jersey Devils have the second overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, and general manager (GM) Tom Fitzgerald may use it in a trade to acquire a forward who can end their playoff drought next year. The urgency to take the next step in their rebuild is real, as the team has not won a playoff series since 2012 and has not qualified for the postseason in nine of the last ten seasons. They have a plethora of young talent that will interest GMs of rebuilding franchises, such as Kyle Davidson of the Chicago Blackhawks or Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins.
Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat or Bruins winger David Pastrnak are two offensive threats that can help transform the Devils into a contender. Both are dynamic goal scorers coming off 40-goal seasons – DeBrincat tallied 41 goals and 37 assists, and Pastrnak finished with 40 goals and 37 assists. Either player would elevate his line on the Devils, whether it is with Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier centering the top two lines. Here’s a look at why Fitzgerald should be willing to move their second-overall pick for the Bruins’ star player.
Pastrnak Provides More Offensive Consistency for Devils
The young Devils team has shown glimpses of the offensive talent, but they need to be more dependable to become a playoff contender. Pastrnak, who has a modified no-trade clause (M-NTC) in his contract (he can submit a 10-team no-trade list), has become one of the better forwards for the Bruins and has provided a reliable attack since the 2016-17 season. Over the last six years, he has averaged 35 goals and will finish within the 15-20 top players in goals over 82 regular-season games.
Hughes missed 33 games in 2021-22, and the Devils lost their best player at the beginning and the end of the season. Hischier has also struggled with injuries since playing all 82 games in 2017-18. If Pastrnak is acquired during the offseason, he would provide more stability should either of the Devils’ top centers miss time with an injury.