After a season of frustration and disappointment, it doesn’t take a degree from Harvard to figure out that the New Jersey Devils need to make changes this summer. The Devils missed the playoffs for the third straight season and did so by a whopping 20 points this year. The Albany Devils missed the Calder Cup Playoffs by only a couple of points but at the end of the day, they are also not a playoff team. Things need to change because the future outlook of this team looks bleak.
The Devils lost out on the Connor McDavid draft but did manage to walk away with the 6th overall pick so the obvious questions now are which players would you take with that 6th pick? But wait, hold the phone.
Kessel… ? https://t.co/uBoeZwKGK6
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) April 19, 2015
Now before you freak out, which it seems some people have, this was simply a response to a tweet sent out by Tom Guilitti and not really suggesting that the Devils were entertaining such a move. TG is right about one thing, the Devils COULD use their 6th overall pick to bring in a player that would have an immediate impact. Think back two years ago when the Devils sent their 9th overall pick to Vancouver for Schneider. People questioned that move but without Schneider this season, I’d hate to think how bad the Devils could have been. So while this tweet is out there, I don’t believe the Devils are looking at Phil Kessel at all.
But let’s entertain the thought because what else do Devils fans have to do right now? That trade, a 6th overall for Kessel would be a mistake. Now, much like the entire Leafs roster, Kessel had a down year in 2014-15 scoring only 25 goals. Usually he’s a mid-30 range goal scorer and while that is something any team would take, Kessel is the type of player that would do better in a role that didn’t feature him. Sure, the Leafs have names but Kessel is looked at to lead them. Bring him to NJ, that gets cranked up to 11.
He’s had coaches that have called him out on his conditioning, his worth ethic and his overall attitude. While 30-35 goals per season is something I would jump at in a second, Phil Kessel is not a player I would want to see in a Devils uniform next season.
If Lou shops the pick, it will be interesting to see what type of bites he gets. If Edmonton was willing to talk about moving Eberle or Yakupov, that might be a conversation I would be willing to entertain although a 6th overall pick seems kind of high.
There’s no question that Lou has a lot of work to do this summer and I certainly don’t envy the tough decisions he has to make but I honestly don’t believe Kessel is one he would be looking at.