Devils Trying To Trade Centerman To Upgrade Defense & Goaltending

The New Jersey Devils are sitting outside of the playoffs, but have games in hand. There is still a lot of season left, but this team was expected to be at the top of their division, conference, and the league. There have been struggles and this is a team that can go deep. In a bit of a surprising turn of events, it seems as though the Devils are going to try to get to their goal of adding a defenseman and/or goaltender by shipping off a centerman that has actually been solid for them, Michael McLeod.

James Nichols of New Jersey Hockey Now said that there have been trade talks involving McLeod and they are intensifying with the hope that he can be traded to improve the defense and goaltending. While it would take quite a bit more to add what the Devils need, arguably a top-four defenseman and a 1A goalie, he may be able to cover most or all of the cost for one, unless the Devils delve into both needs from one team.

McLeod is in his fourth full season with the Devils and has been a very solid bottom-six centerman for the team throughout. He is one of the best in the faceoff circle in the league, plays a physical game, and kills penalties. He is exactly what any team could ask for from a third line centerman. The 25-year-old is a RFA at the end of the season and has a cap hit of just $1.4 million AAV.

The Devils have the players to fill in the hole if McLeod is traded, that isn't the issue. Dawson Mercer can shift over to center on the third line and when healthy, the Devils also have Curtis Lazar, Tomas Nosek, Nathan Bastian, and Chris Tierney who can all line up down the middle too. It will be a big hit and is a risky move, but the value McLeod brings from a defensive standpoint will help in a big way to acquire what the team believes they need.

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