Devils Interim General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is making a strong case to earn the full-time job, as he continued the team’s massive fire sale by shipping forward Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for talented prospect Nolan Foote, and Vancouver’s conditional 1st round pick. The return looks incredible for a player with a career-high 22 goals, as Fitzgerald netted a 3rd 1st round pick in the 2020 draft for the Devils in the deal. Nolan Foote was one of Tampa’s most promising prospects, as they drafted him 27th overall in last summer’s draft.
Currently sitting at 54 points in 58 games, the Devils determined it was best to get the most value possible for one of their leading scorers that still has another year of team control following the conclusion of this season. Coleman currently makes $1.8 million and is 28 years of age. This season, he had 31 (5 shy of career-high) points in 57 games with the Devils, including 21 goals (1 shy of career-high). Coleman is coming off back to back 20 goal seasons in New Jersey, where he is averaging an extra minute and eighteen seconds of ice time compared to his career average as a result of his efforts. Statistically, Coleman’s career AB score is an underwhelming -2.67 AB score over the course of 3 years of data. His penalty taken/drawn ratio is also somewhat low at 19:12, however, his giveaway/takeaway ratio was the best on the team at 19:42. Coleman’s -2 +/- rating also wasn’t bad, as several players on the Devils are in the negative teens, and the leader only has a +4 rating.
The Vancouver 1st round pick the Devils acquired from Tampa Bay is conditional depending on whether or not the Canucks qualify for the playoffs (which they currently have an 86% chance to do.) Should they fail to do so, however, the Devils will receive Vancouver’s 1st round pick in 2021. This will be the Devils’ 3rd 1st round pick in this draft as we previously mentioned, due to the fact they have their own pick, and Arizona’s because of the Taylor Hall trade. Nolan Foote comes from a hockey family, as his father, Adam Foote, played 20 seasons in the NHL, and his brother Cal was also a 1st round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 27 games with Kelowna of the WHL, Nolan has 33 points.
If Fitzgerald continues to get maximum value for his players similar to the Greene and Coleman trades, we don’t see how he doesn’t become the Devils full-time GM before the summer. This is a critical time for the team, as they could potentially make 5-6 more trades before Monday’s deadline. They will continue to stockpile draft picks and prospects, as it will be interesting to see what Fitzgerald and his group decide to do with the rest of their team before the deadline. We will surely be keeping an eye on them. More to come.