Devils Cooling Down?

Will top forwards James van Riemsdyk or Nazem Kadri be shipped to the New Jersey Devils in a trade that includes Travis Zajac? It is certainly a puzzling idea of Travis Zajac rumoured to come to Toronto, but having only Zajac in return is highly unlikely. The idea of having Kadri shipped from the Leafs is hard to imagine, especially because Babcock has now given him a longer leash to thrive in the 200-foot game. Will it be JVR? Is Zajac realistically enough?

Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger in New Jersey, cited a deal between the Devils and Leafs.

Travis Zajac is regarded as an older Tyler Bozak, a center that isn’t tremendously fast but can lead by example. At 30 years-young, Zajac has been posting sub-par numbers with the Devils since his 67-point outing in the 2009-10 season. In the 2013-14 season, he posted only 48 points and followed with 25 points in 2014-15.

James van Riemsdyk is a highly skilled left-winger who can have his moments that are incredibly dominant and moments where many are left scratching their head, wondering if he stepped on the ice in a game. van Riemsdyk, 26, has been scoring around 60 points in the past two full seasons with the Leafs. His offensive numbers are good, and the defensive side of his game is still improving.

Certainly a one-for-one JvR for Zajac will not be executed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, especially with the “new” management team. One player that could come to Toronto with Zajac is 22 year-old defenceman Adam Larsson.

Drafted fourth overall in 2011, Larsson is regarded as a top right-handed defenceman for the Devils. Larsson signed a six-year, $25 million contract extension in July that locked him up long-term, but that likely does not have any significance to Lou Lamoriello (former President and General Manager of the New Jersey Devils).

Behind Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner who likely own the top defensive pairing, Babcock likely wants a good, right-handed defenceman to be paired with captain Dion Phaneuf. Larsson is that defenceman. Larsson could be responsible for feeding the puck to Phaneuf on the point in offensive situations, as well as stripping the puck off opposing forwards to quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone.

The trade between the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs will not be a one-for-one deal of Zajac for JVR. Look at the logistics of management. They are looking to address areas of concern, especially if it means acquiring one veteran in Travis Zajac. Will Adam Larsson be part of the return in a 1-for-2 trade? Only the hockey Gods know.


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