After 553 regular season games, the Devils have traded former foundation piece Bobby Ryan to the Colorado Avalanche in a deal aimed at bringing more youth to the team. Besides a 6 game cup of coffee for the Capitals in 2006-2007, Ryan has spent the rest of his NEFHL career in New Jersey, amassing 190 goals, 421 points and almost leading the team to the Cup in 2011-2012 with a 21 point playoff performance.
Devils management felt he was too inconsistent from year to year and after a couple of down seasons he was much better this year, despite getting hurt. He managed to put up a very respectable 55 points in 67 games for the non playoff Devils while finishing a +12. Unfortunately, with two top pairing D in Mark Giordano and James Wisniewski being dealt within the last calender year, as well as Ryan Miller walking this summer to free agency, the team decided an action had to be made. Talks with the Avalanche were touched upon around the trade deadline a few months ago but with both teams fine with waiting until the 2015 lottery results, the deal was tabled until the summer. Talks heated back up and after some brief negotations Ryan was headed to Colorado after all.
Shopping him around the league the Devils were not looking to acquire young roster players as they know their value around the league makes them hard trade for. With that in mind the team was set on trying to get a draft pick in 2016 as well as a prospect that could be considered in the teams top 3. The team thinks they found that in forward prospect Brandan Perlini who slots right into the top of the prospect list with fellow forward Alex Tuch. The team was happy to get another forward into the stable and hopes having two big wingers with hands can pay off as long as one of them keeps developing.
Also coming back to the team is a 2016 1st round pick which at this point could be anywhere, although likely in the 20th and later range. The Avalanche are a team on the rise after acquiring Wheeler from the Flyers as well as Ryan here, they should be able to battle it out in the West. Either way, having a couple firsts in a draft is always fun and along with the Devils own pick should be able to add a couple more prospects with higher end skillsets.
Rounding out the deal was forward prosepct Justin Bailey whot he Avs picked 42nd in 2013 and Louis Belpedio who they picked 153rd in 2014. The Devils liked reports on Bailey and his all around style and hope even if he doesn't score at the highest levels he can still make some sort of impact in a bottom six role. The devils figure if he can at least find a role on the team in the future that's a good insurance policy to have in case Perlini doesn't pan out as more of an all or nothing guy. Belpedio was a target to replace prospect Mike Reilly in the college ranks. With Reilly leaving school this gives the team another smaller offensively minded D to watch develop at the NCAA level.