Where do the Devils Stand Following the Markstrom Acquisition?

Jacob Markstrom makes a save

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Devils acquired goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Kevin Bahl and a 2025 first-round draft pick. The pick is conditional, and the Flames agreed to retain 31.25% of Markstrom’s salary. He has two years remaining on his contract and will have a cap hit of $4.125 million in New Jersey.

By the Numbers

In 48 games played with a rebuilding/retooling Flames team this past season, Markstrom put up a .905 SV% and a 2.78 GAA, earning him 23 wins. He also ranked near the top of the league in GSAx, with 13.7.

For New Jersey, this provides a long-awaited answer to a looming question mark in net. It is hard to understate the impact that poor goaltending had on the Devils’ 2023-24 season.

The Devils were at the bottom of the league regarding GSAx and allowed 185 goals at 5 on 5, which ranked seventh most in the NHL.

New Jersey is gaining a veteran presence and a true number-one goalie, something the team desperately needs if it intends to have a bounce-back year and ultimately find playoff success.

With the anticipated tandem of Markstrom and Jake Allen in net, New Jersey has a solid foundation for immediate success, while also giving netminders Akira Schmid and Nico Daws time to develop in the AHL.

Departures

Going back to Calgary in the trade is a conditional 2025 first-round pick and 23-year-old defenseman, Kevin Bahl. The 2025 first-round selection is top-ten protected.

Bahl, a 6’6” left-handed defenseman, played in all 82 games for New Jersey in 2023-24. He is a defense-first player who tallied one goal and 10 assists last season. In 148 games played with the Devils, he had 25 career points, including four goals and 21 assists.

Bahl’s cap hit is just over $1 million AAV for one more season before he becomes a restricted free agent.

What’s next for New Jersey?

While the Markstrom acquisition is a huge step in the right direction for the Devils, there are still moves to be made for General Manager Tom Fitzgerald during the offseason.

With Bahl’s departure, New Jersey is in the market for a responsible yet physical defenseman. Dougie Hamilton will return to the lineup on the top pairing, providing an important offensive boost to the blue line. John Marino and Jonas Siegenthaler are looking to have bounce-back seasons and with Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec entering just their second seasons, an additional steady presence on the back end is needed.

The Devils are also looking for another top-six forward, likely to play the wing. Jack Hughes should be back at center in 2024-25 following his shoulder surgery, and New Jersey could use a physical winger who can match the team’s speed.

The bottom six group is another area that Fitzgerald is looking to address. Ideally, the team could benefit from a fourth-line center and an additional winger. The key is finding players who are responsible in the defensive zone but can also provide the crucial scoring depth that is needed for a lengthy playoff run.

Fitzgerald has a busy offseason ahead to get the Devils back into contention, but he has over $16 million to work with to make the necessary acquisitions to reach that goal.

The Devils can also continue to build through the draft. Barring another trade, New Jersey owns the 10th overall pick in the upcoming draft.

Round one is set for 7 p.m. EST on June 28th at Sphere in Las Vegas. It will be aired on ESPN, ESPN+, SN, and TVAS.

They also have two third-round picks, two fifth-round picks, and a sixth-round pick.

Rounds 2-7 begin at 11:30 a.m. EST on June 29th and will be aired on ESPN+, NHLN, SN and SN1.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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