What the Future Holds For the Devils Eight Pending RFAs. What They Re-Sign For
Ryan Novozinsky of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com: Novozinsky writes even though the Devils have six unrestricted free agents this off-season, the focus will be on the eight pending restricted free agents which include the big fish of Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt.
What will the contracts for each RFA could get if the Devils do re-sign all of them, and the potential future for them remaining with the club?
Novozinsky writes that Meier is valued at eight years $9 million AAV. Recall, the Devils landed the big Shark of the trade deadline in Meier. Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald has yet to reach out to Meier’s agent yet, and Claude Lemieux confirmed to NJ.com that there was nothing new to extension talks. This will be a tough negotiation with that $10 million qualifying offer looming.
- Per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet: Multiple sources believe the Devils could go the way of “cut-rate: arbitration if they keep Meier and he hasn’t signed an extension. If a team elects to go through this it can argue for a salary reduction — which can’t be lower than 85 percent of the previous season’s salary. It is the belief the Devils had this in mind when they traded for Meier to get the qualifying offer down from $10 million to $8.5 million. It is rare, but it has happened.
The last couple of contract negotiations have not gone easy for Fitzgerald and the Devils with Bratt. There is a framework in place for a deal and Fitzgerald does not believe this will be contentious negotiations. Both parties want to get a long-term deal done but it will come down to money and the hierarchy structure the Devils want to have. Novozinsky projects a five-year deal with an $8 million AAV.
Sharangovich had a disappointing season. He was a healthy scratch more often than not under head coach Lindy Ruff. He saw his point total drop by 16 points from 21-22 to 22-23 season. Novozinsky expects a pay bump and probably a two-year bridge deal that carries a $2.5 million AAV.
Expect McLeod to stay and sign a two-year deal that carries a $1.5 million AAV. McLeod earned his next contract in the playoffs and in the faceoff circle. McLeod has found a role on this team and is crucial to the Devils fourth-line success.
The same goes for Bastian, he will get a one-year deal at $950,000. The Devils lost him in the expansion draft but got him back when he was placed on waivers. Again a crucial member of the fourth line with McLeod.
Novozinsky expects Boqvist to sign the same one-year, $950,000 deal as Bastian. Boqvist found a forechecking role on the team. Good third-line player for the Devils.
Novozinsky believes Bahl will get the same deal as Boqvist and Bastian, a one-year deal at $950,000 AAV. He is a solid player on the backend.
As for Blackwood, it appears he has played his last days as a member of the New Jersey Devils. Though it would be hard to leave as Blackwood noted in the Devils locker room cleanout day, but he wants to go where there will be an opportunity to play. With the emergence of Akira Schmid and the play of Vitek Vanecek, Novozinsky expects his rights to be traded.