The Devils decided a few weeks prior to the deadline to shake the team up and while nothing major ended up happening, a couple small moves transpired. Despite a strong push from management to move Bobby Ryan to the Western Conference, no deal could be reached before the deadline. However, based on the talks and where they were headed there is still the chance Ryan is moved before the draft this summer. The team is mainly looking to get a couple prospects and a draft pick to restock the system.
In the middle of a rough season where the team struggled to stay near a .500 record, Ryan was seen as a scapegoat for the teams struggles. His pathetic production has been documented before, although through his last 25 or so games he's a point per game player and largely responsible for the teams 2014 turnaround. Unfortunately for him it seems too little too late as the team has made up it's mind and plans to move ahead with the young forwards on the farm over the next couple seasons.
Of the deals that were reached:
"Bud" Holloway was acquired from Nashville for a 6th round pick in 2016.
Justin Florek was acquired from Buffalo for a 2015 3rd rounder.
Vladimir Sobotka was sent to Columbus for a 2nd in 2015.
Nothing Earth shattering as the team merely found a couple youngish players to take chances on. Holloway could be a lost cause but at a low pick going the other way, the team felt he was worth the gamble. If he can ever make his way back to this side of the hockey landscape, the team hopes he can transition like Soderberg has. If not, well it's only a late pick. He hasn't resigned in Sweden yet, however after not getting close to replicating his historic season the Devils hope the fan favorite will find an NHL contract.
Florek is a guy who ended up on the Devils radar this year as he has continued to show solid improvement in the AHL. His upside isn't very high but the team feels he should end up a solid depth player capable of filling in a checking role and possibly the second PK unit. With good size and solid two way ability the team hopes he should be a safe bet for the NHL within a couple seasons.
Sobotka's departure hurts the most but not really in the lineup. A good bottom six player defensively and physically but he has always struggled to put up points in NEFHL (11 goals in 356 games). Even this year when the team was struggling and had depth problems at C, Sobotka still couldn't put up many points with 15-20 minutes a game. However, he was with the organization since almost the beginning of my tenure and is a favorite player to watch in the NHL. Despite the odds of a 2nd rounder not even making the pro team. The Devils hope he finds success in Columbus but are glad to get another draft pick to rebuild the farm system, which has become very barren over the last couple drafts and probably ranks in the bottom half of the league.