Five bargain free agents the Devil’s must Target.

Heading into the offseason, the New Jersey Devils have multiple issues. The most pressing is finding a new head coach. With the search narrowed to, at most, four potential candidates and with a decision expected before the holiday weekend, the next focus should be planning for free agency. The Devils will head into the offseason with almost $19 million in available cap space (Per CapFriendly). They will be 16th in the NHL in available cap space. However, those numbers may change drastically should the team enter into an extension with pending restricted free agent (RFA) Dawson Mercer and/or acquire a top-level goaltender without offsetting salary.

Earlier this week, AFP Analytics released detailed projections for all the free agents entering the market this summer. Although no model can be entirely predictive, AFP’s version provides a solid baseline for expected player costs in the offseason. The Devils are in a favorable position, with their core players secured on long-term, team-friendly deals or entry-level contracts. The only key player they need to make a decision on is Mercer. However, they could delay a long-term decision by tendering him a qualifying offer, as he is still a year away from having arbitration rights.

Even with their core secured, the Devils still have some needs to address. General manager Tom Fitzgerald has expressed his intention to build a tougher, more competitive team comprised of players who contribute to winning. He has significant assets at his disposal, including a top-ten draft pick and promising, affordable young players like Alexander Holtz and Seamus Casey

, who could be used in trades. While major moves are expected in the trade market, the Devils should focus on using free agency to build depth and fill out the roster. Key areas needing reinforcement include a bottom-six forward, a defense-first defenseman for penalty killing, and middle-six depth on the wing. Here are five players projected to cost under $3 million per year who the Devils should consider on July 1.

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