New Jersey Devils (NJD) did not make it to the playoffs this season (2018-2019). Since then both Taylor Hall and Ray Shero have stated that NJD needs more talent. This prompted a lot of fans to look toward the UFA and the RFA class of 2019 in order to fill in the roster spots.
This article only looks at those few RFA players that the fan base wants to offer sheet. There are essentially 4 players whose names appear every time the conversation steers towards offer sheets:
1. Mitch Marner (RW), projected cap hit of $9,790,057 requires offering two 1st round pick, one 2nd round pick, and one 3rd round pick.
2. Brayden Point (C), projected cap hit of $8,244,551 requires offering two 1st round pick, one 2nd round pick, and one 3rd round pick.
3. Timo Meier(RW), projected cap hit of $5,889,783 requires offering one 1st round pick, and one 3rd round pick.
4. Jacob Trouba (D), projected cap hit of $7,324,489 requires offering one 1st round pick, one 2nd round pick, and one 3rd round pick.
For the purpose of this article, the projected cap hit is borrowed from @EvolvingWild recently released contract predictions for pending free agent skaters: https://docs.google.com/s...iWLN54/edit#gid=707766415
New Jersey requires a top 6 winger and two (2) top pairing defenseman in order to be in playoff contention and have chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Mitch Marner, Brayden Point and Timo Meier can fill in the role of a top 6 winger and essentially solve the scoring issue that the team faced in 2018-19 season.
Solving the 18-19 scoring issue by offer sheeting Mitch Marner or Brayden Point will cost NJD (based on the projected cap hit) two 1st round picks, one 2nd round pick, one 3rd round pick. As tempting as this deal may be, I believe that this will take NJD to playoffs but will not help go past first round.
Adding Timo Meier with an offer sheet will cost NJD one 1st round pick and one 3rd round pick. This is a less steep price to add a top 6 player to the roster however, still requires sacrificing a 1st round pick.
Sacrificing a 1st round pick to pick up a top 6 winger for NJD is not the right path due to the losing the chance to potentially drafting a top pairing defenseman. The majority of the top caliber defenseman in NHL are drafted in first round. Losing that opportunity will continually haunt NJD during the regular season and playoffs.
Finally, offer sheeting Jacob Trouba will come with a cost of 1st round, 2nd round, and 3rd round pick. Given that the majority of 1st pairing defenseman are drafted in 1st round, sacrificing that draft pick will not be a huge loss. Essentially, NJD lost 2nd and 3rd round in this offer sheet scenario. On top of getting a solid blue-liner, Trouba will provide some scoring boost but not at the same level as the top 6 wingers.
Getting 1st overall pick, healthy Taylor Hall, experienced Nico Hischier, experienced Damon Severson, Jacob Trouba, and rest of the healthy roster should provide NJD enough scoring and reliable defence to allow them to compete for a playoff spot in 2019-20 season.
In conclusion, in my opinion Jacob Trouba is the correct RFA for NJD to offer sheet if they were to explore that route to add talent on the team. Having stability at the back end will help decrease scoring chances against NJD and will solve the scoring issue to some extent. This is my opinion, I would love to know what everyone else thinks?