To me those guys sundstrom mentioned just don't move the needle. Yes, NJ needs some better wingers. I think Jurco, Tatar, Etem, Atkinson - they're all going to be fine players in this league, but all these guys are probably 2nd-line-on-a-good-team forwards. 45-50 point a season types. Nice to have, certainly. But without some better centers, NJ will be sunk. Elias can only last so long. Henrique is not a center, it's time they come to terms with this, or if he is, he's a very good 3rd line center/weak 2nd line center.
When I look at the 3 defensemen, I see Gelinas, who could be something really excellent. It's not likely - Gelinas's play in the defensive zone this past year makes me think he will never quite figure it out. The game will speed up and he'll get less panicky, but he will still be prone to mistakes. But the Devils have not had something like Gelinas in a very, very long time - in fact, I can't think of the last time NJ had a D prospect like Gelinas, and that's because they've never had one, really. Niedermayer scored from the back end but he was a different sort of player. I look at some of what Gelinas does and I see Subban. I don't want to give that possibility up, not for some 2nd line guy. There's of course a strong chance that Gelinas will remain a 3rd pairing/fringe NHLer because he can't get his D game sorted out, and this post could look very foolish, but I just can't give that up.
Merrill's value got hurt by that Michigan incident - regardless, he came up and just didn't look out of place. He's not going to score a ton but I think he could be a very effective D for the next decade - think Paul Martin. And there's a slim chance that he becomes an elite defensive D with some offense to him. I don't want to give that up especially because I think he'd be the least valuable of the 3 - I can't imagine GMs think particularly highly of him, but I do.
And then there's Larsson. Him I would give up - I like him a lot and think he could be very good, but I imagine he has more value than the other two. But he's still just 21 going on 22. I'd want to get a 1st line forward back for him but I don't think that's possible. I wouldn't give him up for any of the players sundstrom mentioned, or for players on that level.
I think waiting a year could be a good idea. Severson will be more a known quantity. Gelinas will demonstrate whether he can handle being an everyday D. Larsson and Merrill should take steps forward or to the side. NJ will have a better sense of what all these guys are, and they'll be able to make the right move with one of them.