The New Jersey Devils have signed free-agent forward Drew Stafford, taking one of the lingering interesting names off the market and filling a desperate need on right wing.
It’s just a one-year deal worth $800,000, a sharp decline from his previous contract with the Jets that paid him $4.35 million against the cap. It’s a one-way contract.
Stafford, 31, had 21 points in 58 games between the Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins last season, including eight in 18 games with the B’s after he was acquired at the trade deadline. His goal output was down sharply from his previous two seasons with the Jets, despite being in a contract year.
The signing gives the Devils a capable veteran on right wing, where the team is razor thin. Behind Kyle Palmieri on the top line, the Devils could have gone with John Quenneville, Stefan Noesen and potentially Jimmy Hayes (on a PTO currently). Marcus Johansson has played right wing, but is far more effective on the left side. So Stafford bolsters this group; which says more about this group than it does Drew Stafford.
So, in theory, you could have Drew Stafford skating with first overall pick Nico Hischier this season, which wouldn’t be a bad thing for either player – especially if it means Stafford puts up the kind of numbers that allow the Devils to flip him at the deadline.
Ah, the veteran forward on the one-year deal who gets turned into a third-round pick. The Ray Shero Special.
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