Rating the Devils Trades: Good Grabs; Grabner and Maroon

Last September every so-called “expert” in hockey predicted that the Devils would wind up somewhere south of Tahiti and more likely in the subterranean depths of the National Hockey League.

General manager Ray Shero sure fooled them. Wheeling and dealing from training camp through the Trade Deadline, Redoubtable Ray stunned the Figure Filberts with a raft of rookies sprinkled with vets and, so far, they’ve hung on to a playoff berth.

Hanging on is not enough for Shero, he’s thirsty for a post-season round or two; maybe even three.

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With that in mind, he corralled Michael Grabner from the Rangers and right at deadline time put a cherry on the cake with rough-tough left wing Patrick Maroon exiled from Edmonton.

With Grabner alongside team MVP Taylor Hall and also speeding up the young speed demons, who knows, Redoubtable Ray’s sextet may have something with which to fool the experts again — in the post-season.

In a conference call with the media, Devils general manager Ray Shero discusses why he decided to make the deal now for the winger Michael Grabner.

Just in case, grit and gumption round out the equation, Maroon tops the list in that daunting department.

Here’s why Shero’s acquisitions matter:


Bye-bye Yegor Rykov plus a second-round pick; hello Gabby Grabner. New Jersey obtained a gem in Grabner, alias Kid Lightning. Few pull off almost a breakaway per game which makes him one of the NHL’s top PK specialists on a good PK (11th best) team.

This from a scout: “Michael has a surprisingly good wrist shot and is willing to shoot from anywhere. Right wing Grabner would dazzle alongside left wing Taylor Hall. Actually, scary, that pair!”

MSGNetworks.com Rangers contributor, Matthew Blittner, chimes in with this: “Grabner could easily slot into New Jersey’s top line (with Nico Hischier at center) for a playoff push.”

Another scout: “Devils would be wise to consider using Grabner on the power play. He immediately makes their penalty kill better as well because of Michael’s speed.”

New Devils winger Michael Grabner talks about coming over to New Jersey, playing against the Islanders and his emotions playing for a new team.

Grabby sure didn’t hurt on Saturday night as the Devils beat the Islanders, 2-1.

If nothing else, it was a good start. After the game, Grabby and The Maven gabbed a bit, harkening back to his days on Long Island.

“I like the move to New Jersey,” he told me, “and I’m looking forward to the homestretch.”

When I asked him about the speed he brings to New Jersey, Michael grinned and added, “The Devils have plenty of speed; look at Hall, (Miles) Wood to name a couple.”


Right at the deadline, Shero nabbed tough Oilers left wing Maroon to skate alongside ex-Edmontonian, Hall. Maroon’s non-stop feistiness will add to New Jersey’s overall muscle-hustle.

To satisfy the Oilers needs, the Devils gave up a third-round Pick in the 2019 Draft and 22-year-old center prospect J.D. Dudek of Boston College.

Conclusion: These are two genuine biggies for Shero; starting with Grabner and then coming up with a darn good closer in Maroon who has tallied 30 points in 57 games for the Oilers.

For Redoubtable Ray, the most appropriate song happens to be, “Nice Work If You Can Get It — And You Can Get It If You Try.”

Shero tried — and he got!

[Watch Devils-Penguins Tuesday on MSG+ & MSG GO. Download the app for free.]