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General manager Ray Shero explains why didn’t need to make a big splash in free agency to help the Devils build for 2018-19.

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July 1 doesn’t always make or break an offseason.

The official start of NHL free agency came and passed quietly for the Devils and general manager Ray Shero, where the team signed two AHL players in Kurtis Gabriel and John Ramage, plus NHL depth defenseman Eric Gryba.

They also saw Patrick Maroon, John Moore, Michael Grabner and Brian Gibbons depart for other teams.

While Shero has added NHL talent in free agency since joining the Devils in 2015, he’s never made a big splash on the open market. The biggest deal he’s handed out on July 1 was a three-year, $8 million contract to Ben Lovejoy.

“We’ve never been active on July 1. It’s more of the process of building a team and where we were three years ago compared to now,” Shero said. “I think realistically, we’ll have 11 forwards from our team last year, once we have (Blake) Coleman, (Miles) Wood and (Stefan) Noesen signed. Seven defensemen, two goaltenders.

“Are there avenues to improve the team? Absolutely. We’ve got plenty of cap space flexibility and I think it’s one of those things. We were on a few guys. If it made sense, it was one thing.”

What Devils offered Maroon

The majority of free agents are now off the market, and while it’s possible the Devils sign someone later in the summer, Shero won’t solely rely that route to make drastic improvements to the team.

Instead, he’ll do what he’s done since taking over in New Jersey. He’ll explore the trade market, where he’s landed team-changing players almost every offseason. Sometimes those trades happen in June or July, like when Shero brought …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real -Time Sports

      

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