It’s almost time for the Seattle Kraken to select new players. A lot of teams will be removing players they feel won’t go long term. Like every other team, it will be challenging to decide to stay and who goes. The New Jersey Devils are no exception, as they have a lot of valuable players they want to keep. But that doesn’t mean there are valuable players to give away either. Since the Devils roster is one of the youngest in the league, it’s a gamble if the players are staying or leaving will have better careers. So here are the players that will most likely stay and most like go to the Kraken.
Most Likely To Go To the Kraken: Nathan Bastian
It’s certainly hard to break up what is a good duo between two young players. Both Nathan Bastian and Michael McLeod have been known as the “Super Buddies” in the organization. But looking at who would help the Devils long term, McLeod has had a better average between the two. Thankfully the Kraken could use a right-winger like Bastian to develop into an excellent future piece for them. Bastian, in the past several seasons with the Devils organization, has been up and down. While he has been a fantastic player in his time in the OHL and AHL, he never seems to bring that same type of play to the NHL level.
Bastian’s 2019-2021 stints are perfect examples. Bastian got 38 points for the Binghamton Devils during the 2019-2020 season before the season shut down due to COVID-19. When Bastian was brought up for the 2020-2021 New Jersey Devils season, he only scored 10 points in 41 games. Even though Bastian may not have high point totals, there could be some talent left in him to discover. The Kraken would be a perfect team for Bastian to see what he can bring to a new team and see if he can fit Dave Hakstol’s coaching style. Bastian did have his moments with the Devils, like talking to Jeff Skinner about how he has the same goals as him. Unfortunately, it probably works for the best that he goes to the Kraken to try and stand out. Maybe he’ll be a contributor to a Stanley Cup for the Kraken one day.
Most Likely to Stay with the Devils: Andreas Johnsson
Andreas Johnsson has had a very underwhelming first year in New Jersey. After the Devils acquired Johnsson in the 2019-2020 offseason, it seemed like a good idea, considering his past seasons playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. When he started playing for the Devils, that’s where it showed he isn’t exactly a promising young forward.
Johnsson struggled during the 2020-2021 season for the New Jersey Devils, only scoring 11 points in 50 games. But to be fair to Johnsson, it didn’t help that he got knee surgery last offseason before signing. It didn’t help that Johansson was injured this season after getting cross-checked by Scott Laughton in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 25th, 2021. So, after one bad season, why are the Devils keeping him from going to the Kraken?
Johnsson may have had one bad year, but there are still two years left on his contract to prove how he can fit in the young core. Every season is a fresh start for a new player, and if Johnsson can stay healthy, he can be good. But there is a problem with his offensive abilities. Johnsson looks nothing like what he did in Toronto. Maybe the problem was since he was working alongside superstars like Auston Matthews and William Nylander, Johnsson never really got to showcase his skills. But there is still a chance he can perform well in New Jersey.
With the number of upgrades, the Devils are trying to make, and they can find a way to put Johnsson where his abilities are best used. But even if he doesn’t work, the total for his two contracts is $6.8 million. So, it wouldn’t be a massive loss if he goes as a free agent in the next two years. Will it be worth it not to send him to Seattle? Well, we may have to wait until the 2021-2022 season’s start to know that for sure.
The Seattle Kraken has many options as to who they could take from each NHL team at the upcoming expansion draft. The New Jersey Devils are no exception. But, there are also some players that the Devils must protect as their rebuild continues.
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