Despite an incredible run in the last two months that's seen the New Jersey Devils climb from the basement of the Eastern Conference, their deadline fate is still not set in stone. There's no doubt that the Devils are a talented team that could potentially make noise in the postseason should they make it.
After all, any team that wins seven straight during the regular season should be considered a threat. But that's just the thing: the Devils got off to such an incredibly bad start that they need to win seven games in a row to even feel like they have a chance. Despite going 15-1-2 in their last 18 games, New Jersey is still 10 points out of the final playoff spot with four teams ahead of them in the standings.
So, with the deadline a week away, are the Devils a buyer or a seller?
Status: On the Bubble. Things could really go either way in New Jersey. The playoffs are, despite the recent hot stretch, still a very distant dream. They need to jump four teams in the standings -- it's just not likely. At the same time, if the team pulls within six or eight points of that eighth spot this week, you can certainly see them going all in and hoping for the postseason.
Needs: This all depends on what side of the token you fall on. Do you think they should be buyers or sellers? If you're John Fischer at SB Nation's In Lou We Trust, you think they should be sellers, and thus their needs are draft picks, draft picks and more draft picks.
The Devils should avoid taking NHL players since, as noted earlier, they don't have the space. They won't be able to add anyone of significance. Also, the Devils need to plan for this upcoming summer and next season. Adding a non-expiring contract doesn't help unless Lou figures the player in their future plans.
Prediction: When push comes to shove, the Devils' little run here is entertaining, but it's not going to be enough to get them over four teams and into the playoffs. And even if that miracle does occur, it won't be known in the next seven days. There's just not enough time between now and the deadline for the Devils to make up the necessary ground to consider themselves true contenders.
They'll trade Arnott to a team desperately in need of his services for some picks or prospects. Young assets. They won't be able to shed Rolston's 35-plus contract, though.
Further Reading From In Lou We Trust