3 Devils Players Who Won’t Be Back Next Season

The New Jersey Devils have had a tough season from losing players to getting no help in net. The team isn't out of the race, but it will be difficult for them to jump the teams ahead of them and make it into the playoffs. There will be some changes in the offseason to improve and get back to a top team, so let's look at the three players who won't likely be back next season.

Kaapo Kahkonen

The Devils made a couple of goaltending additions, one being Kaapo Kahkonen. In a last ditch effort to help improve goaltending for the final 20 games of the season, the former San Jose Sharks' goalie actually did fairly well on the worst team in the NHL. The Devils are a much better team in front of him, so just playing how he did in San Jose will help greatly. The Devils now have four goaltenders capable of playing in the NHL and Kahkonen is the only one who is a UFA after the season. It only makes sense that he will hit free agency and go to another team.

Brendan Smith

The Devils have been forced to utilize a ton of defensemen this season. Brendan Smith, capable of playing forward or defense, has had a better season than 2022-23, his first with the Devils, but the back-end is getting a bit crowded. He has a full-time role in the lineup right now since Dougie Hamilton, Jonas Seigenthaler, and John Marino are injured, but Smith is also 35 years old and nothing special. Young defensemen are pushing into the NHL for the Devils and will take over his spot next season. It is an easy transition as he's a UFA in the offseason anyways.

Akira Schmid/Nico Daws

While already noting that Kahkonen will not be back next season for the Devils, one of Akira Schmid or Nico Daws won't be back either. The Devils pushed hard for a high quality goaltender at the trade deadline, but none were available for them to grab, so they settled on Jake Allen and Kahkonen to close out this season. New Jersey intends on going after one of the big names again in the offseason, so heading back to whichever team they can get a high-end goalie from will be one of the young goalies on the Devils. It would help the value of the trade and it doesn't make sense to hold onto so many goalies.

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