A frenzied off-season for the New Jersey Devils began not on July 5th as unrestricted free agents became free to explore and sign with new teams, but in their own arena five days prior with a blockbuster trade at the 2013 NHL Draft. The question that has been looming around the devils for the past five seasons was finally answered as it seems the team has finally accepted that living legend Martin Brodeur will not play forever. The Devils dealt the ninth overall pick in the NHL Draft at the Prudential Center to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for their semi-starting goalie Cory Schneider. The American-born Boston College product posted 17 wins in thirty games last season while boasting a respectable .927 save percentage and a 2.11 Goals Against Average. This deal was greeted by surprised enthusiasm by the Devils faithful as many anticipated the deal to be for Tyler Seguin as it had been suggested the Bruins were looking to deal him for a top-10 pick having traded their own first round pick to Dallas in the deal that brought them Jaromir Jagr. Schneider at the prime age of 27 very well may have a decade or more left in the league and the Devils and their fans sure hope that he will spend many of those years here in north Jersey. rn rn The Devils then moved onto the question of what to do with their surplus of free agents. They seemed to have to choice but to let David Clarkson walk as he recieved a very healthy deal from his home-town Toronto Maple Leafs. The Devils, not surprisingly were not interested in offering Clarkson the $5+ million for seven that the Leafs did but wasted no time signing a player of similar style and ability to a similar annual salary but for two fewer years when they inked former Ranger and Shark Ryan Clowe. rnrnHours later, news broke that the Devils were one of two teams (Boston) that was in contention for signing veteran sniper Michael Ryder. The Devils furthered their success by becoming the victors in this battle when Ryder agreed to a two-year, $7million contract with Jersey's team.rnrn It has been known for a long time that the Devils were looking to deal one of their eight defensemen under contract. Again, Lou Lamoriello came through when he dealt Henrik Tallinder to his former team, the Buffalo Sabres. The Devils essentially received nothing in return as they acquired Riley Boychuk, a career minor-leaguer. However, the Devils opened up much needed cap space that can be used to sign RFAs Jacob Josefson and Adam Henrique. The Devils opened $3.375million with the Tallinder trade. rnrnAny hopes that the Devils may sign living legend Jaromir Jagr went out the window yesterday when the Devils re-signed defenseman Marek Zidlicky to a one year deal for an undisclosed amount of money. rnrnCritics may say that the Devils let talent walk in David Clarkson but is hard to argue that the roster has not improved from the end of last season with their new acquisitions. rnrn This improvement was both necessary and predictable as one may expect Lamoriello to make an extra push to the playoffs this year knowing that the Devils will be forced to give up their first round draft pick as punishment for their circumvention of the salary cap when they attempted to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a front-loaded deal three summers ago. Lou has no intention of giving up a pick in the top half of the first round as he will be scrutinized for not giving up their 29th overall pick in the 2012 draft that led Stefan Matteau to become a Devil. As free agency continues in a less frenzied fashion look for the Devils to secure their RFAs in Henrique and Josefson and secure their spot in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.