Devils GM keeping options open, but expects to keep top pick

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Every offseason there is always a discussion centered around two possibilities that almost never happen: The potential for a restricted free agent to sign an offer sheet, and the team that owns the No. 1 overall pick potentially trading it.

When it comes to the latter point, expect this to be yet another year where it does not happen as the New Jersey Devils seem committed to keeping the No. 1 overall pick and selecting either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier.

“I’ve gotten calls asking if there’s interest moving down and other calls where it’s been more specific and it’s something to think about,” general manager Ray Shero said, via NHL.com. “But I haven’t called them back. The idea is we’ll probably be picking, but we’re open to a lot of things.

“What would it get me to trade the No. 1 pick outright? I couldn’t even tell you. It hasn’t been done that much, but if we did do something like that it would be pretty apparent it was the right thing to do. You have to be ready for all different scenarios in moving up or down, and in this case down.”

It is important to keep in mind that the No. 1 overall pick has not been traded since 2003 when the Florida Panthers traded it to the Pittsburgh Penguins, moving back from the top pick to the third pick. Pittsburgh selected Marc-Andre Fleury, while Florida ended up with Nathan Horton.

That top pick is just too valuable in a salary cap league to give up. You need impact players to win, and the best possible place to get them is at the top of the draft. Every Stanley Cup winner in the salary cap era with the exception of the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings has had at least one top-two pick on its roster.

Along with that, the Devils are simply in need of a young, potential impact player to rebuild around. They are probably not going to get that player outside of a top pick.