April 11, 2021 was a huge trade deadline for the New Jersey Devils. The Devils traded pending unrestricted free agent Taylor Hall
for what is now, forward Dawson Mercer
and defenseman Kevin Bahl
. Then, in a smaller trade -- or perhaps we thought -- New Jersey acquired defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler
for a third-round pick, which is now Brent Johnson, a defenseman who scored 3 points in 23 games for the University of North Dakota in '21-22.
Siegenthaler, 25, assembled quite the season for the Devils after being traded. Although he managed just 14 points in 70 games, Siegenthaler was one of the NHL's top shut-down defenders and to some, he was THE best.
The 6'2'' product of Switzerland signed a five-year contract extension worth $17 million this past summer that kicks in at the start of 2023-24. Meaning, Siegenthaler could have waited another season before signing long-term, possibly earning an even bigger payday. Given how he fared in his first season with a full workload, he probably would have gotten one too.
His new annual average of $3.4 million seemed like an overpay at first, but anyone who watched Siegenthaler last season knows what a steal that number and term is.
However, according to Devils' beat reporter Ryan Novozinsky, Siegenthaler wanted his number low because he knows the Devils have 'something big' stewing.
The Devils' young core is another year older, and after suffering brutal fates the last few seasons, they have a hungry bunch. The offseason acquisitions by GM Tom Fitzgerald ought to have big implications.Sidney Crosby
, who knows a thing or two about winning at this level, has spoken on multiple occasions about the importance of players willingly taking less money in the name of winning.
If only one guy takes less, it does not really move the needle. However, if the team's entire core takes a small haircut, that makes a huge difference in rounding out the roster's depth.
New Jersey now has Jack Hughes
, Nico Hischier
, Dougie Hamilton
, Ondrej Palat
, and Jonas Siegenthaler
all cost-controlled for the next five-plus seasons. Additionally, the Devils boast a wealth of high-end prospects and a deep pool of youngsters set to replenish their ranks.
Siegenthaler took less because he believes his team can win the NHL's biggest prize. Now, it is up to the team to give fans a reason to buy tickets.