You hear that? Those chimes in the background? They are getting louder. The trees are starting to sway. Could it be that the trade winds are starting swirl? What's that? You don't feel it? Oh well, in my world the signing of a bottom pairing NHL to a multi year deal spells the end for someone. Could spell the beginning stages of the death of my hopes and dreams of using the Devils wealth of defenseman to trade for a young, cost controlled forward with a lot of offensive upside. That's entirely possible I suppose.
On a day when most teams are overpaying drastically, the Devils locked up a steady 5th or 6th defenseman that, unlike in previous years, is not on death's door. If the trajectory of past defensive prospects is any indication, John Moore will only get better. He's 24, can actually skate, and isn't a complete black hole offensive. The days of depending upon Bryce Salvador (God bless him for his contributions in 2012, we'll never forget), and Mark Fraser are but a distant memory. If he is successful in his role it allows the Devils flexibility with their increasing number of backend prospects that are set to join the team in the next 2-3 years. If he fails, the Devils have defensive talent to make up for it, and his $1.6 million per year is anything but an anchor. This is a low risk-moderate reward move that falls right in line with the approach that Ray Shero has taken to start his era as General Manager of the New Jersey Devils.
According to my crystal ball we shouldn't expect too many moves during free agency. What I can guarantee is that we don't see is a player that is on the back end of his career getting signed to a multi-year deal. Those days are over. The Devils are getting younger. They are getting faster. They are getting cheaper. While I don't think they have any interest in tanking, they certainly don't have any interest in causing themselves financial problems in the future by trying to win now. I loved Lou and his refusal to rebuild as much as anyone, but the time has come. This team needs to be built from the defense out, as always, yet embrace the youth, skill, and creativity that has taken over the league. Pavel Zacha was a great start. Kyle Palmieiri was a hell of a followup. And a young, former first round pick that doesn't have to bear the weight on any expectations is not a bad way to start free agency. Especially if it means a trade is on the horizons.