#1. New Jersey Devils
A trade between the Flyers and the New Jersey Devils sounds impossible, right? Think again. Last summer, the Devils traded Pavel Zacha, then an RFA, for Erik Haula. Zacha had a career-year with the Boston Bruins, and Haula was the stabilizing veteran force on a young, surging Devils team. The Devils went from zero to hero, and advanced farther in the playoffs than the Bruins, who were favored to contend from the get-go. That sounds pretty even, by the look of things.
With Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci now retired from the NHL, Zacha is now the Bruins’ number one center. If the Bs hadn’t made that trade, they would be rolling out Charlie Coyle as their top centreman this year. Of course, not every trade is going to go so well for both sides, but sometimes it’s just better to cut losses at the earliest opportunity.
The Devils’ lineup is virtually set for the upcoming season, but they still have some cap space to make some more moves if they would like. Haula split the year evenly as Jack Hughes’ left wing and faceoff taker, and as the third-line center. Haula is not particularly a facilitator of offense, though, and it’s also unclear what will happen to Michael McLeod in regards to the Hockey Canada sexual assault investigation. As a result, the Devils have already gone ahead and added players who can play center, like Curtis Lazar, Chris Tierney, and Tomas Nosek.
Offensively, Frost is better than all of those players, and could allow Haula to move up or down the Devils’ lineup to play wherever he is needed. Frost would more than likely see himself playing alongside the likes of Ondrej Palat, and potentially Alexander Holtz.
The Flyers can expect to receive some prospects or picks in return, but not necessarily a Simon Nemec kind of prospect. A trade between two archrivals is rare, but this is a case where teams at different ends of the seesaw can help each other out.