The next few months will be of utmost importance to the Devils. As of now, they're currently a bubble team largely in part to the 3 game slump the team has been in. With this stretch of games being oh so important to the team's future, largely in part because of the revenue of playoff games as well as making a statement to Zach Parise that the team can win. Because of this, this means the Devils are going to be buyers at the deadline. Unless the team slumps hard during February, it's unlikely that the team's stance will change. The question is, do the Devils need to make more moves to help their team win?
So far, the team has made two trades- the trade for Kurtis Foster and the trade for Alexei Ponikarovsky. Considering that the Devils acquired Foster for detrius and a 7th rounder, the deal doesn't seem that bad. As for Ponikarovsky, the price was somewhat higher- a 4th round pick and Joe Sova. Considering that Ponikarovsky hasn't been a horrendous addition (or a double edged sword like Foster), and has managed to provide the Devils with a decent bottom 6 forward with good possession numbers. So far, these two trades have been exactly what you'd expect them to be.
The problem with making trades right now would be that it's much harder to assess where the team stands with several key players out. Without Henrik Tallinder in the lineup, the need for a defenseman is somewhat increased. It would be nice to get help for Mark Fayne, who will likely be eating up big minutes down the strech without Tallinder around to help him. It would also be good because the Devils could use another veteran defenseman- nothing against Matt Taormina, but a veteran defenseman does inspire more confidence than a talented rookie. If the Devils do acquire a defenseman now, they will have a surplus of defensemen once Tallinder returns.
Without Adam Henrique in the lineup, and Travis Zajac's heel injury being worse than expected, the need for a center becomes more apparent. But because both of them are day-to-day right now (Zajac is more week-to-week), it's much harder to assess whether or not they need that top 6 forward.
The same goes for goaltending, which has been an issue all season. The whole problem with goaltending is that it's too tough a market to judge. Marty or Moose could have a good run during February, but then come out flat in March. Or the opposite, having a weak February but coming up big in March. Additionally, the goaltending market isn't that great right now. Most of the goalies that would be on the market are going to be expensive, and most of the cheap goalies aren't going to be big X-factors. Antero Niittymaki, Brian Boucher or Dan Ellis isn't going to be the solution to the team's goaltending woes.
What i'm saying right now is that the Devils shouldn't jump the gun when it comes to trades and bide their time. While the prices are going to be more expensive right at the deadline, it should give the Devils time to assess what they have and who won't be around for the next couple of months. It's a much better plan than rushing to conclusions and jumping the gun on any trades right now.