This Year The Devils Cheap, Expendable, Veteran Addition To Their Forward Group Will Be Named Drew Stafford
My initial thoughts on this deal are pretty much the same as the initial thoughts I would have on any one year deal worth less than a million dollars that was agreed upon in late August.
To put it simply? Meh, can't hurt.
Drew Stafford certainly had his struggles last year but he proved to be a welcomed deadline addition to the Bruins. In comparison to that of Boston, the proven talent on the right side of the Devils roster...well...let's just say that if it were a dick measuring contest then New Jersey would be the team complaining that it's too cold. I don't want to put a floor on the level of disappointment given the on-ice product recently, but the worst case scenario is that Drew Stafford follows up his extremely underwhelming season with one that is eerily reminiscent. If that's the case he would still easily be worth $800K to a team that would consider any warm body with an NHL resume a relative upgrade at right wing.
Maybe he shocks everyone and regains his 20+ goal form a la Lee Stempniak, or maybe he just casually reminds Devils fans he exists by potting a meaningless goal every 10 games or so a la P.A. Parenteau. Whatever the case may be, his cap hit in literally a drop in the bucket of their cap space, and a guy that - at his worst - was worth a fourth round pick will almost definitely be getting flipped for an asset come late-February.
I suppose the argument could be made that the New Jersey Devils should have saved that spot in the lineup for a young, promising prospect, but I'm pretty sure they still have more vacant spots in the lineup than they have young, promising prospects. This signing makes the Jimmy Hayes PTO more of a 'shot in the dark' than 'a hope and a prayer', and thus guarantees they'll have one more veteran presence amongst a group of forwards that are in desperate need of someone to buy them beer.