The Devils Are Reportedly In On James van Riemsdyk, And I'd Really Appreciate It If Someone Knocked Them Out
I blame Ray Shero, but it's not because he has reportedly identified a need for more scoring and is at least thinking about addressing it by way of overpaying a player that doesn't necessarily fit the system. He wouldn't be the first, nor would he be the last NHL GM to voluntarily make an objectively unwise investment because he had the money at his disposal.
Instead, I blame Ray Shero because, much like a mother that thinks no one is ever good enough for her baby, his work in nurturing the Devils from the talent barren wasteland they were has pretty much convinced me that very few free agents are worthy of their time. It's actually quite impressive when you think about it. Fans in particular tend to fawn over free agency, but in three short years the franchise's new figurehead has made me largely numb to its allure with his meticulous scouring of the trade market.
To be clear, I don't think someone who is basically a lock for 25 goals from the tough areas of the ice would be the worst addition to a team that's currently depending on quite a few if's to come to fruition in building on a promising playoff appearance. I just don't think he would be the best building block for a team that has structural flaws elsewhere and that's what we've come to expect when Ray Shero gets to stacking the brick and mortar.
In JvR, you're basically talking about a player who brings more of a scoring touch than Pat Maroon, for at least 1.5x -2x the price and term, but almost none of the other characteristics that made Pat Maroon a solid contributor in the lineup down the stretch. Neither is fast, but at least one of them makes up for it by being hard on the puck and bringing a productive and possessive presence along the boards in the offensive zone. So while it would be nice to bring home a Jersey boy, doing so a cost that (within the framework of their attacking style) might not even seem effective if he does hit 30 goals next season seems like a reach.
With how long the Devils have waited to make a splash in free agency, James van Riemsdyk would make for an underwhelming prize. I understand the want, but yet another left winger doesn't come close to filling a need in the lineup. These 5x5, 6x6, or 7x7 deals that are given to secondary players in their late 20's so, sooo rarely seem smart in hindsight. That doesn't mean you can't offer them when you have the luxury of excess cap space, but it does mean that you should probably consider circumstances and put both the target and team in the best position to succeed in the long run when you do. Even at its most ideal this isn't a match made in heaven, so what happens when that honeymoon phase comes to an end as (::knock on wood::) the Devils' window to truly contend begins?