2022-23 Offseason Intro
With the 2022-23 offseason on the way, General Manager, Tom Fitzgerald has a big ingredient list to go over at the helm of the organization in Newark, NJ. Jesper Bratt, Alexander Holtz, and Jesper Boqvist are a few of many bright spots on the New Jersey Devils roster that really know what it takes to play competitive hockey. Regardless of coaching staff and other key changes this could make or break Tom Fitzgerald’s career in New Jersey.
Last offseason Tom went out to sign Dougie Hamilton, Tomas Tatar, and Jonathan Bernier. If there was something to point out that Fitzgerald needs to amend with the goaltending it’s gonna need a more hands-on goalie coach. In the upcoming part of the article will be a few goalie recommendations that could address the Devils goalie depth problems.
Free Agent Wingers: Filip Forsberg & Johnny Gaudreau
Filip Forsberg, the Swedish scorer has amassed 42 goals with the Nashville Predators. It will be a hefty task to get Nashville back to the Stanley Cup Finals after several seasons. Can Forsberg be the kind of winger that comes up big in the playoffs? It all depends on how he and his Predators perform and if Tom Fitzgerald will make him an offer to come join the Devils.
Another player who is looking for a tidy penny will be, Salem, New Jersey boy, Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau has compiled 40 goals and has harvested a plentiful amount of points. The Calgary Flames can either re-sign him or lose him for nothing.
The New Jersey Devils could be looking to add one of these two wingers that can help improve the scoring output for the Devils’ four lines.
On the Restricted Free Agent front would be Matthew Tkachuk who has scored 41 goals this season and is a tough-as-nails power forward. The New Jersey Devils can look to move some assets that can improve the overall core, skill, and depth.
He brings a lot of swagger and jump to a team’s lineup with that 1990’s style of grit that he learned from his dad Keith Tkachuk, and his older cousin Tom Fitzgerald.
If Winnipeg can’t keep Pierre-Luc Dubois then it is worth the inquiry of Tom Fitzgerald asking Winnipeg if there is a fair value to acquire him. Adding a big power winger to the Devils lineup will help improve the New Jersey Devils forechecking game. The ability of Dubois’ physical play will help soften opposing teams’ defense cores and make it easier to yield more points.
He’s a 0.66 points per game player out of Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec. Furthermore, Dubois has been registering an average of 23 goals and nearing the 30-goal mark the past 4 seasons. This kind of move would likely be done by trade rather than RFA offer sheet.
Another player who is of interest as a restricted free agent is Andrew Mangiapane. Mangiapane had yielded 35 goals and would be a trade target. Andrew could be Calgary’s cap casualty if the Flames end up extending Johnny Gaudreau in Calgary. It could be a big problem if Calgary can’t tender and then becomes a free agent or the Devils trade for him and extend him.
The biggest question is how the Devils handle Ty Smith, a young defenseman who had an atrocious defensive season. Time will only tell if he improves his overall game or gets moved. Could Calgary bring home the Llyoydminister, Alberta native via trade with Mangiapane to NJ? It’s an interesting scenario if the former WHL defenseman heads back northwest.
The Evaluation Station?
“We’re all under a total evaluation. The players are under an evaluation, coaches, myself we’re under an evaluation. It is really all a part of the process. It really is to leave no stone unturned. The evaluations will last two days for all the players, the evaluations with all the coaches, that is really what takes place right now.” – Head Coach, Lindy Ruff
To those who would like more definitive answers, it’s only a matter of time before the New Jersey Devils make any announcements. In fact head coach Lindy Ruff is uncertain about his outcome and the 1 season he has left on his deal. It has gone to the point Tom Fitzgerald is going to take a long hard look at everyone from top to bottom.
Role Changes Imminent?
If Ruff is not fired due to certain players who speak well on his behalf I can see him doing a similar role with Travis Zajac. Working with players on a day-to-day basis and being present around the team. But at the same time allowing the Devils to bring in new coaches to implement a more robust yet balanced system of offense and defense.
The big deadline Tom Fitzgerald and his upper brass will need to make moves well before the NHL Draft Combine, and the NHL Draft. Although if things get boosted in the 2022-23 season with a new power play system, and the special teams it’ll be a huge step onward. If Tom Fitzgerald keeps his eye on teams coaching staffs in the playoffs there could be some candidates.
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