Cammalleri Trade Scenarios: New Jersey

(courtesy NHL/

When Dean “Boomer” Molberg, of the Sportsnet 960 morning show, asked frequent guest and CBC insider Elliotte Friedman to name a team he thought were right in the thick of things regarding the Mike Cammalleri sweepstakes, Friedman stunned the host with his answer: the New Jersey Devils.

It’s not that a trade to the Devils was inconceivable or anything, it’s just that no one had really considered them to be contenders in the hunt for the talented winger prior to Friedman’s suggestion. The idea, still, is an odd one for me to digest. I don’t really see it being a good fit for either team on the surface, but nonetheless, let’s break the situation down.

Why New Jersey?

Because they can’t score.

The Devils boast the second worst Goals For number in the league (even worse than the Kings) and Cammalleri would be a big time boost to that lagging forward core. He’d infuse the game-breaking element the Devils lineup is lacking and could be the difference between the Devils making the playoffs or missing them. Only problem is, where do you fit him in?

Acquiring a guy like Cammalleri and giving up the assets you’d need to sacrifice in exchange just to play him out of position is, to be blunt, plain stupid and Lou Lamoriello is not a stupid guy. Meaning, if Cammi does end up going to Newark, he’d play on the left side (I understand he’s played center in the past but he’s clearly more comfortable and effective on the wing). The Devils top 3 left wing positions are currently occupied by the likes of Dainus Zubrus, Patrick Elias and Ryane Clowe. Not exactly a stellar group, I’ll admit, but they are three very capable NHLers. The left side will need an upgrade sooner or later, but short of trading one of those three, there is no room for said upgrade at the present time. You also cannot simply move one of the three over to the right side because Jaromir Jagr, Damien Brunner and Michael Ryder occupy those spots and are all arguably better than the three opposite them on the ice. Now, backtracking slightly to the idea of trading one the three, it’s not out of the question the Flames absorb one those contracts – all of them pretty bad if you ask me – to up their return. They still have two compliance buyouts and Murray Edwards and the other owners still have deep pockets.

The Return

Best Case Scenario

2015 1st Round Pick + B/C Prospect (Stefan Matteau, Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby)

The Devils have no first rounder in 2014 due to the Ilya Kovalchuk contract fiasco, so 2015 is the earliest they can offer a Top 30 pick. If the Flames are somehow able to steal away this pick, I will invest all my trust into Burke as the head honcho. New Jersey may miss the playoffs this season, and next year could be worse with an even older team meaning the Flames would have an even higher chance of grabbing the first overall pick and having a shot at Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel should they corral the pick. The Devils, though, traded their 1st rounder last draft to Vancouver for Cory Schneider and along with the forfeited pick this season, trading the 2015 first would make it 3 straight years without a Top 30 selection for the Devils. That’s even past Darryl Sutter territory. The conclusion being it’s not likely they part with this pick.

The Devils have a ton of “C” prospects, too many to go into detail in fact. They have a couple players who once showed promise but have since fallen off in Jacob Josefson and Mattias Tedenby. At 22 and 24 years old, respectively, both players still have time to salvage their careers and turn themselves into respectable NHLers, but their days with the Devils appear to be numbered. Neither has panned out into what the organization expected and they may be worthwhile gambles for the Flames to take, especially if paired with that coveted 2015 1st. Stefan Matteau was a fan favourite selection at the time of the pick, with his father having played for the Devils and his intriguing ceiling, but has instead turned into a massive headache for the team. I won’t get into the specifics but he had some attitude issues among other things and left his QMJHL team mid-season. If the Devils are willing to part with him, Matteau, age 20, fits the “Burke player” mold so he could be a potential target on the Flames radar. Corey Pronman went over theDevils top prospects last summer here, so you can take a look for yourself.

Realistic Scenario

2014 2nd/3rd Round Pick + A/B Prospect (Adam Larsson, Damon Severson, Eric Gelinas, Reid Boucher)

I think if the 1st Rounder is ruled out, the Flames would be willing to take a lesser pick, in return for a more prominent prospect. The Devils have a couple high potential blueliners the Flames could take look at in a potential Cammalleri trade.

Adam Larsson was a 4th overall pick in 2011, but has been confusingly mishandled by the Devils since, plummeting the young Swede’s stock considerably. At just 21 years of age and over 100 NHL games already under his belt though, Larsson has plenty of time to turn things around and reach his full potential. I’m not so sure the Devils would be willing to part with him just yet, however. It would probably take some serious prying on Burke’s part. Damon Severson, 20, was a second rounder in 2012 and has been doing work in the WHL this season, almost at a point per game with 52 in 54. He’s a top prospect and I’m sure the Devils would be reluctant to part with him as well. 22 year old Eric Gelinas has emerged in TJ Brodie-like fashion on the blueline for the Devils recently, putting up good numbers – both regular and fancy – in the NHL. The six-foot-four, 205 pound defender has six goals and 22 points in 44 games with the Devils this season and would be a solid addition to the Flames D core going forward. Reid Boucher scored 62 goals in 68 games during his last OHL season and is as pure a goal scorer has the Devils have in the system. The 20 year old has been very solid in the AHL this season and even got into 23 games with the big club this year. Besides the five-foot-eleven, 187 pound anti-Burke frame, he shapes up to be a prime target for the Flames should they explore trade scenarios with the Devils for Cammalleri.

Sum It Up

I still don’t really see the Devils as a viable destination for Cammalleri to land, but if Elliotte Friedman said it’s a possibility, then it’s a possibility. The Devils have some really attractive prospects on the blueline but the problem is prying them out of Newark. I’d really rather not have an Iginla or Bouwmeester scenario play out again where no one knows who the prospects coming back are. Cundari who? Did you say Hanowski? It would be really refreshing to acquire a household name prospect for once, wouldn’t it? The Devils have a lot of those “no name” types and if I see the headline “Cammalleri traded to New Jersey,” I’m going to get real nervous.

Other Cammalleri Trade Scenarios

  • Fire It Up

    I would have to say ‘no thankyou’ if I was Burke. The history of failed projects and second rate prospects with other clubs lining up at Calgary’s doorstep for their ‘high end’ players is atrocious. No more.

    A 1st is the asking price, nothing less.

    • Rockmorton65

      I don’t know. I like the idea of getting an “almost NHL ready” prospect and possibly a lower pick for Cammy. I’m not overly excited at only getting a pick in the 25-30 range for him. For example, instead of a first from say – Phoenix, what about Gormley and a 2nd? Maybe tweak the deal to get Gormley and Connor Murphy? I’d rather have that than just roll the dice @ 15 with Phoenix’s first.

  • Rockmorton65

    Looking at the NJ prospects depth on would have to be at least interested in some of their prospect at D which is a Flames organizational weakness. But I think there are better potential trade partners.

    • SmellOfVictory

      agreed, we’re are talking about the guy who willfully drafted Stefan Matteau instead of forgoing the 29th overall pick in 2012. Did they really think they’d be picking 30th in the next two years instead? Now they are backed into a corner and will likely miss out on a potentially much better prospect.

      Lou has shown some savvy decisions in the past, but he’s also done some pretty boneheaded moves.

  • Christian Roatis

    And for the record, these two scenarios are based off what has been reported the asking price being: either a 1st and an ok prospect or a 2nd a top prospect.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I can see Burke going after a top prospect and a lower draft pick. It fits the fast track rebuild he says he is pursuing. I image that this is dependent on how much respect he has in the Flames pro scouts, or what he himself perceives as good up and coming prospects.

      I just don’t see NJ as a team that would be interested in Cammelleri, or more to the point, I don’t see how NJ could convince Michael to sign a contract for any length. I think he wants to play for a winner.

  • Nick24

    I’ve kind of been thinking about Cammy going to NJ. I’d want Jon Merrill back though. Otherwise I think it might be a smarter to try to make a deal with Phoenix. Not sure if NJ would give up Merrill though.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    My suggestion of trading Cammi to the Blues will give the Blues a solid opportunity at Lord Stanley. I believe they lack a scoring winger. My desire of obtaining Ty Rattie in return is 2 fold..1) Rattie and Sven were unstoppable as line mates in Junior and this would rejuvenate Sven as well as give the Flames a high end prospect with sweet hands and top speed… 2) It will satisfy my person bitterness given that the Blues screwed us in the Jbo trade!

    • BurningSensation

      St Louis sees Rattie as ‘untouchable’.

      As such, I suspect you will have a long, long time to wallow in that ‘person bitterness’ as from all appearances he is not, and never has been, available.

    • BurningSensation

      He had 9 points in his last 4 games (including a 2g,1a game against the Hitmen), and currently sits at 61pts in 48 games.

      S’nice. S’very, nice.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Good article Christian.

    If the Flames were able to get Larsson or Gelinas for Cammaleri on an expiring contract, Burke deserves a pat on the back and a bonus. We’ll see what happens.

    Just dont blame an expiring contract as the reason for a lackluster return Burkie, because then we get to ask you why you didnt deal Cammi earlier then.

    My gut feel: Burke gets a good, not great, prospect from a team and a 2nd/3rd rounder. And I would be just fine with that.

  • BurningSensation

    If we could land a guy like Adam Larrson it would be highway robbery.

    To say he has been ‘confusingly handled’ by the Devils is an understatement.

    That said, I just don’t understand why the Devils do any kind of deal with us given they are already stacked at the wings, and by my eye they look to be reaching at Cammalleri despite lacking a place to play him.

    As such, I could see us having to eat Ryan Clowe as part of the trade (he is a Burke player to a ‘T’), but if it gets us an Adam Larsson, I don’t care.

  • BurningSensation

    Cammy for larsson is utter ridiculousness. Ya, i’m sure the devils would give up a top 4 pick for a rental, when they don’t even have a good chance for a stanley cup. Sounds like an oilers fan trade scenario, hemsky and gagne for shea weber type pie in the sky deal. Not happening. Cammy gets a 2nd.. maybe. Or a b prospect and a 4th.. remember last year when we were talking iginla scenarios and many believed he would go for a 1st/2nd and A level prospect? And what did we get.. cammys a scorer, whose not scoring, now with a concussion issue on an expiring contract. Lets not get crazy here.

    • Christian Roatis

      Didn’t notice the “it’s very unlikely Devils part with him” and “it would take some serious prying” parts, hey? The realistic scenario is a 2/3 round pick + A/B prospect. I then listed a few prospects fitting that description, I didn’t say it was gonna be Larsson for Cammi and that’s that.

      • SmellOfVictory

        I wasn’t talking about your article in my comments. I agree with what you said and understand your not saying larsson for Cammy. I was commenting on the numerous posts that were saying that they would do Cammy for larsson. That’s not happening.. people need to temper expectations. No one, especially lou, is trading their top prospect for a rental.

        • Christian Roatis

          Oh ok, and yeah I don’t think that’s likely. In fact I doubt they want to part with any of their top young defenseman which doesn’t leave the Flames with much. I know Friedman said it, but I really doubt it gets done.

  • Derzie

    Mike is not going anywhere. He’s cold as ice since his injury and is not worth very much in the short term. He signs here or gets traded for Hanowski-like Magic Beans.

  • BurningSensation

    NJ seems like an odd choice, I’m Cammy would rather a contender. At this point, I don’t care where we send him, just get back some decent return. Maybe Burke should let him play this week see if he can score some goals and then trade him at the deadline.

  • Christian Roatis

    A quick analytical approach to determining potential trade partners for the Flames.

    Teams wanting to acquire Cammalieri would do so in order to boost their offensive output, particularly during the playoffs where Cammy has proven success.

    Using the rationale that any team in the top 10-12 spots in each conference(wild cards within 4-5 points of grabbing 8th spot) and scoring less than 160 goals would be potential trade partners to acquire Cammalieri.

    These criteria show the following Eastern teams potentially in the hunt for Cammy’s services: Montreal, NY Rangers, Detroit, Carolina, New Jersey.

    Western Conference teams include: Los Angeles, Minnesota, Vancouver, Nashville.

    Top echelon Cup-contenders may also want to bulk up their scoring with a proven performer for a long playoff run..this could add a couple more teams such as Anaheim, San Jose, St Louis.

    Cross-referencing these from a Flames perspective to swing a trade for top prospects (Hockey Futures) shows there are 5 teams with above average pipelines, hopefully with top RW and D prospects…ANA(#3), MIN(#7), DET(#9), MON(#11), NSH(#14).

    If we look at prospects on these teams ranked 7.5 or greater..then ANA and MON would appear to have the best RW and D prospects of interest to the Flames.

  • Purple Hazze

    If trading Martin Erat can fetch a prospect like Filip Forsberg it shows that desperate teams will make boneheaded trades all the time … hopefully Burke can take advantage of this.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Why would the Devils trade for a pending UFA if they are not a contending team. If it were a sign and trade deal I could understand. Lamorello will not give picks and prospects for a pending UFA alone. Do you think we’re stupid, or Oiler fans? Friedman and the rest of the Papparazzi media are throwing shite at the wall to see if anything sticks. Nothing more.

  • SmellOfVictory

    tsn reporting cammi and brian berserk are close to signing new deal. unless it is a short sensible deal the flames are not moving cammi for anything.