Dreger eyes Devils on trade front

As teams begin to get their ducks in a row for next month’s NHL trade deadline, Ray Shero may be nearer than some when it comes to pulling the trigger.

Darren Dreger had a Thursday afternoon radio hit on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290.

Toward the end of the segment, the Insider was asked if the fact that there are so many teams clearly in a position to sell might speed up the trade process ahead of the February 25 deadline compared with past seasons.

“It’s possible,” allowed Dreger. “But you’re right. If I look at the Eastern Conference, I mean there are teams that we haven’t heard from yet. Toronto plays the New Jersey Devils tonight. I’m getting the sense the New Jersey Devils are real close to moving out some pieces.

“Now, we’re not talking about the big boys like Hall or Palmieri or anything like that. New Jersey is a team that - Ray Shero is a veteran, experienced general manager. Maybe he wants to dip into the market, or take advantage of someone else who wants to dip into the market early.

“Because the ask on good players - specifically defensemen - is always the same this time of year. If you’re talking about a Top-4 defenseman, you’re talking about a first-round draft pick, you’re talking about a good prospect, and then you’re talking about an NHL roster player.

“That doesn’t seem to change until somebody dives into the market until someone either overpays or underpays, and then I think people have to kind of embrace reality after that.”

The 16-19-7 Devils enter Thursday evening’s NHL action in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, and are 12 points out of the final Wild Card spot in the East.