New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald has a big decision to make over the next couple of weeks regarding forward Kyle Palmieri.
The Devils are going to miss the playoffs for the third year in a row and eighth time in the past 10 years and are almost certainly going to be sellers at the trade deadline again. Palmieri, as a pending unrestricted free agent, is going to be their most attractive trade chip.
Assuming they want to trade him.
There is almost certainly some incentive for the Devils to try and keep Palmieri beyond this season. He has been a rock for them over the past five-and-a-half years, consistently scoring at a 25-30 goal pace over 82 games. He is a proven finisher on a team that lacks them while making a positive impact defensively. It makes a lot of sense to try and keep him.
The risk with that path is that he just turned 30 years old, has already showed some signs of slowing down this season, and has probably already given the Devils his most productive hockey. How is his production going to look into his 30s? It is a fair question to wonder if a new contract extension will be worth what the Devils will get back on the ice.