As training camp begins to wind down for the New Jersey Devils, Jersey Joe Stanislau and Jim Biringer from lastwordonhockey.com are back with a new episode of the Jersey Joe Corner to discuss a wide array of topics. Some of these include the latest on Taylor Hall, the battle for the final roster spots, the latest on three remaining RFAs, breaking down the Metropolitan Division, and so much more.
Jersey Joe Corner
Taylor Hall Contract Situation
The boys are back after a week and jump right into the potential contraction extension involving Taylor Hall. Earlier in the week, Darren Dreger on TSN Insider Trading said Hall’s agent Darren Ferris and general manager Ray Shero had met over the weekend. Dreger said there was progress and a deal could happen sooner rather than later. The following day Hall admitted the two parties met. However, no numbers were discussed, progress was being made. Jim believes that after seeing the team perform during the preseason, that Hall’s mind has shifted towards staying with the Devils. There is still time in the process and Hall will take his time with his decision.
Battle For Final Roster Spots
As training camp winds down, the Devils have tough decisions to make to cut the roster down to 23 players. Joe and Jim debate which players should make the opening night roster. Both agree that Jesper Boqvist, Michael McLeod, Matt Tennyson, and John Hayden have done a great job so far. Boqvist has made the strongest case to make the team. Jersey Joe mentioned Ty Smith and how he has not leaped out like he did last year. However, Jim mentions the Devils have options for a player like Smith. They can give him one more preseason game and a few regular-season games before deciding his fate. Both agree that Miles Wood has worn out his welcome in New Jersey and a new home will be suitable for him.
The Remaining RFAs
The conversation shifts to the remaining RFAs out on the market. Jersey Joe asks the question who will be the next RFA signed now that Matthew Tkachuk and Brayden Point both signed bridge deals with their respective clubs? Jim speculates given the situation with the Winnipeg Jets with Dustin Byfuglien, that Kyle Connor could be the next one off the market. Again reading the tea leaves considering that Byfuglien is on the suspended list and leaning towards retirement, the Jets would then have money to sign Connor and Patrik Laine. With Mikko Rantanen and the Colorado Avalanche far apart, that one could continue to drag. But as Jim says these negotiations can turn on a dime.
Where Do The Devils Finish?
If you followed along the Puck Drop Preview Series on Last Word on Hockey you saw the Metropolitan Division is the toughest to predict. Jersey Joe mentioned how the Devils will battle for a playoff spot all season long. Jim agreed with that and brought up how they could even contend for a top-three seed. Jim then mentioned how the Carolina Hurricanes may not be the same team especially with the loss of Justin Williams. And while everyone is picking against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jim believes they have a solid team. Even with all the departures.