TradeWatch: Thomas Vanek

February 22, 2018 - Devils Army Blog - View Full Article

Thomas Vanek has played for nine different teams in his career. –Getty Images

As the trade deadline quickly approaches, it is more apparent that the New Jersey Devils need a depth scorer. There are many options that would fulfill this need. However, as Devils fans, we must keep in mind the team is still following the guidelines of a rebuild. This simply means rentals are not a likely option, unless you can snag one at the right price. Vancouver forward Thomas Vanek may be a “rental” worth looking at.

The 34-year old forward has played 945 career regular season games, and is recognized around the league as a second or third-line scoring presence. Vanek has also posted a respectable points total (40) on a team that is only averaging 2.7 goals per game (27th in the NHL). A large proportion of his point total (45 percent) this year has been on the power play. These statistics make it easy to conclude Vanek still has his unique scoring touch.

So why would any team, including the Devils who struggle mightily on the power play, not want to acquire Vanek? It’s simple….his defense.

Thomas Vanek ranks second among Canuck’s forwards in CA/60, which simply means when he’s on the ice, his unit is often hemmed in their own zone. He also holds a CF% Rei of -3.88 which ranks second-to-last among Canucks forwards. These numbers may be an outlier as Vanek’s career CF% is 48.8. However, as Vanek battles father time maybe the decrease in underlying numbers are here to stay.

The Takeaway

The bottom line is that Vanek may bring a nice scoring touch to any middle-six forward group, along with a respectable power play presence. He will however, struggle defensively. As a team that isn’t too great defensively themselves, the Devils may want to pursue a forward who wouldn’t need to be sheltered whenever he is on the ice. Ultimately, look for Ray Shero to not pursue Vanek and keep following the guidelines of a rebuild.

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WATCH: Patrik Elias on upcoming Devils jersey retirement

February 22, 2018 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Patrik Elias talks about what getting his jersey retired by the Devils means to him. Watch video

Patrik Elias will soon be the fifth Devil to have his number retired.

Elias will join four former teammates with their numbers hanging in the rafters of the Prudential Center -- Ken Daneyko, Scott StevensScott Niedermayer and Martin Brodeur -- when the Devils retire his No. 26 jersey on Saturday at the Prudential Center prior to a game against the New York Islanders.

Of that group of soon to be five players, only Daneyko and Elias played their full careers in a Devils uniform.

Devils' lines vs. Wild

During a press conference on Thursday, Elias talked about the bond he built with fans over the course of his career.

"The fans are the reason why we come in and play," Elias said. "For them to see us, cheer us on and being successful, and obviously years when you're not successful, you realize what true friends they are. You go through ups and downs with them.We certainly did that throughout my career.

"More ups at the beginning of my career obviously, so when you go and you succeed and you win championships, you build up more of a special relationship with the fans because you share something that we all wanted to accomplish, and that's winning a Stanley Cup."

Elias still has some family traveling from the Czech Republic to get to Newark for Saturday's ceremony, and he will have a big contingent on hand to celebrate.

"I can't wait to share that special evening with all of you, all of my family, and I'm looking forward to it," Elias said.

Gates for Saturday's ceremony will open at 4:30 p.m. and the ceremony will start at 6:15 p.m. The Devils recommend that fans be in their seats by 6 p.m.

Chris Ryan may be reached at cryan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find NJ.com Devils on Facebook.