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CONFLICTING REPORTS HAVE SURFACED ABOUT BRATT'S CONTRACT TALKS W/ DEVILS

JUN 18, 2022  (15H08)      JON
In an offseason containing several looming questions, the New Jersey Devils have much to consider. Has the time come to rise from the Devils front office to start making 'win-now' moves? If so, one of their top priorities ought to be inking Jesper Bratt to a hefty contract, both in term & annual average value.

It has been a tough stretch for the Devils & their fans, as they've spent the last decade supporting a losing team. In that decade, the Devils have made the playoffs once & finished 7th or 8th in each of the previous nine seasons save two. While pessimism runs rife among Devils' fans, New Jersey has much to be optimistic about; captain Nico Hischier, star center Jack Hughes, & newly signed defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Plus a prospect system featuring Dawson Mercer, Alexander Holtz, Luke Hughes, & multiple other first-round picks.

One name currently up in the air is F Jesper Bratt. Bratt, who scored a career high 73 points in the 2021-22 season, three shy of a point/game pace. The Devils new beat reporter, Ryan Novozinsky (@ryannovo62 on Twitter) reported recently talks were heating up between Bratt's camp & the Devils:


Novozinsky's report spurred a wave of optimism across Devils' Twitter, who spent most of the last two seasons without a beat reporter. His initial reporting has since been contested, however. Two NHL insiders have reported to the contrary in the last couple of days. First, Frank Seravalli indicated that Bratt is a top trade target for him this summer:


Devils fans were none too pleased about that, as they believe Bratt an integral part of the team's future. Furthermore, today Kevin Weekes dropped a bomb that sent DT into a frenzy:


So on one hand, we have two of the NHL's most trusted insiders hinting--or outright reporting--that the Devils & Bratt aren't necessarily close to an agreement. While on the other, a local beat reporter is saying they are. Even doubling down on his initial report after Weekes' tweet:


Whether or not Bratt's extension--or trade--gets done, this is a situation to monitor. But something tells me a homegrown, sixth-round pick scoring at point-per-game pace would be of grand significance to the Devils' front office & GM Tom Fitzgerald. It's been estimated Bratt's contract would look something like 5 x $6.5 million AAV, with the possibility for a bump should the they opt for longer term. In an age where individual players are making upwards of $11-12 million a year, the Devils have already proven to be a team who aims to manage their cap tightly. Having signed captain Nico Hischier & star C Jack Hughes to a collective $15.3m per season, they won't just throw a sack of cash at Bratt without trying to get the AAV down. That said if you were going to throw a sack of cash at someone, this guy might be worth it:

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