LeBrun on Insider Trading: “The New Jersey Devils are one of the teams we understand that Connor Hellebuyck would be interested in signing an extension with in a sign-and-trade. New Jersey has investigated it, and they’ve had a conversation with Winnipeg, but I think what probably would give NJ pause and some other teams is the kind of money that Hellebuyck would want in an extension, we believe that to be in the Vasilevskiy range, $9.95M per year.”
As exciting as landing a goalie of Hellebuyck’s caliber would be, today we’re going to play devil’s advocate and list four reasons why the New Jersey Devils should not trade for Connor Hellebuyck.
Three Negatives on the New Jersey Devils Possibly Trading for Hellebuyck
Too Much Money
As LeBrun mentioned above, Hellebuyck is asking for Vasilevskiy-type money which would be around the $9.5M range. If a trade were to take place, do the Devils have the money to take on a long-term extension for Hellebuyck? The answer should be no, but they could make it work if Hellebuyck is who they really want.
The Devils already have five players on contracts making north of $7 million dollars with Timo Meier looking for an extension between the $8-9 million range.
Considering Dougie Hamilton is getting paid $9M, extending Hellebuyck to a $9.5 million dollar contract (what he’s asking for) would give the Devils two players on long-term extensions of $9 million or above.
Let’s face it, Hellebuyck is already on the wrong side of 30. He’s got one year left on the expiring contract he already has and will be looking for a long-term extension of say eight years.
Does GM Tom Fitzgerald really think signing an eight-year contract to an elite goaltender north of 30 is a good idea? We would be looking at Hellebuyck’s extension expiring near the age of 38 to 39.
Don’t get me wrong, Hellebuyck is the real deal and has shown no flashes of regression, but you’ve got to think as he grows older the wheels will start to fall off or the risk of injury is much greater.
This also comes from an organization that knows a thing or two about signing goalies to long-term contracts and ends in disaster, a la Corey Schneider.
So, let’s say the Devils and Jets agree to terms on a sign-and-trade to bring Hellebuyck to New Jersey. Even after a massive cap hit, there’s still another obstacle to hurdle. What assets would a sign-and-trade for an elite goaltender in Hellebuyck cost the Devils?
Well, for starters, the Devils would almost certainly have to give up their 2025 first-round pick. The Devils 2024 first-rounder can’t be moved due to conditions from the Timo Meier trade.
The Jets would then need a goaltender to replace Hellebuyck so one would assume they would try to pry Akira Schmid from the Devils. Though it’s doubtful the New Jersey Devils will give up Schmid, they’d likely try to give up Vitek Vanecek to shed some cap.
Losing Vanecek to add Hellebuyck sounds like a pretty good deal for the Devils, right? Well, if Winnipeg was forced to take on Vanecek then they would most likely demand the rights to the number seven overall pick in the 2020 draft, Alex Holtz.
I’d imagine Yegor Sharangovich would be part of a deal to give the Jets some added scoring and help on special teams as well.
Another direction the Devils could move with Hellebuyck is adding him on a shorter-term contract to avoid regression and cap implications far into the future. Still, as earlier reported, that is not what Hellebuyck is looking for.
Whatever Tom Fitzgerald and the New Jersey Devils decide to do with Hellebuyck, it will be a franchise-altering decision. Though nothing in the NHL is guaranteed, adding an elite goaltender in Hellebuyck could dramatically improve the Devils’ chances of winning a cup, but it could also damage the cap for the future.
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