At 3 pm this afternoon the NHL’s roster freeze came into effect, which will prevent teams from making any transactions for the duration of the Winter Olympic games. The freeze will be lifted on February 24th, and that will leave teams just 10 days to make any deals before the March 5th trade deadline.
The New Jersey Devils, who are in desperate need of adding a scoring forward to their lineup, did not make any trades. There has been a number of top flight forwards rumored to be available around the league, such as Thomas Vanek and Mike Cammalleri, but GM Lou Lamoriello opted not to rush into making any deals just because of the Olympic deadline. Lamoriello was not alone in his actions, as no other teams made any blockbuster deals leading up to the Olympic deadline.
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The other high profile players that are presumably on the trading block are goaltender Ryan Miller and New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan. Both players are unlikely to be trade targets for the Devils for different reasons. The obvious reason with Ryan Miller is that the Devils simply do not need a goalie at all, after trading for their goalie of the future Cory Schneider in the offseason. Miller’s name has circulated in trade rumors the entire year, and he will certainly be a major upgrade in net for any Stanley Cup contender who pulls the trigger on a deal for him.
Ryan Callahan on the other hand would be a very good fit for the Devils given his style of play. Unfortunately, I do not see any scenario where the Rangers would trade one of their most popular players, and their captain nonetheless, to help their arch rivals make a run at the playoffs. It will be very interesting to see if the New Jersey makes a play for Callahan in the offseason, but I’m not quite sure they will be willing to commit to the $6.5 million or more a year that he is reportedly seeking.
The main obstacle that stands in the way of the Devils making any trade is the fact that they do not have a first round pick in next year’s draft. This means that Lou Lamoriello will have to decide on whether or not it is worth giving up some of the organization’s top prospects for a player that they may only have on the team for about 20 games. Couple that with the fact that trading for a forward, even one of the highly touted guys on the market, does not guarantee that they will even make the playoffs and the Devils will have some very difficult decisions to make over the next month.