Devils Strengthen Defense by Trading for Johnathan Kovacevic from the Montreal Canadiens

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The New Jersey Devils bolstered their defense by acquiring Johnathan Kovacevic from the Montreal Canadiens, giving up a 2026 fourth-round pick. Learn about Kovacevic’s background, stats, and what this means for the Devils’ defense.

Key Takeaways:

  • The New Jersey Devils acquired defenseman Johnathan Kovacevic, sending a 2026 fourth-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens.
  • Kovacevic has played 143 NHL games, scoring 28 points and showing strong defensive skills.
  • This trade is part of the Devils’ plan to improve their defense for future seasons.

Devils Trade for Defenseman Johnathan Kovacevic

On Sunday night, New Jersey Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald announced that the team has traded for defenseman Johnathan Kovacevic from the Montreal Canadiens.

In return, the Devils will send Montreal a fourth-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft. The pick will be the best of the three fourth-round picks the Devils have (from Dallas, Winnipeg, and their own).

Kovacevic’s NHL Journey and Statistics

Johnathan Kovacevic is a 26-year-old defenseman who started his NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets. He made his debut on January 27, 2022.

He is 6’5″ tall and weighs 225 pounds, making him a strong presence on the ice. In the 2023-24 season, he played 62 games for the Canadiens, scoring 6 goals and 7 assists.

He also had a career-high 42 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating, which was the best on his team. Kovacevic blocked 83 shots and made 75 hits, averaging 16 minutes of ice time per game.

Contract and Career Highlights

Kovacevic is currently in the final year of a three-year contract signed on July 22, 2022. The contract is worth $3.2 million and has an average annual value of $766,667.

His NHL career, which began with Winnipeg drafting him 74th overall in 2017, includes 143 games played. In those games, he has accumulated 28 points (9 goals and 19 assists), 83 penalty minutes, and a plus-15 rating.

Before his NHL tenure, Kovacevic spent parts of four seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Manitoba Moose, amassing 58 points (18 goals and 40 assists) in 137 regular season games.

His time in the AHL also included participation in five Calder Cup Playoff games during the 2021-22 season.

Additionally, Kovacevic had an impressive collegiate career at Merrimack College, where he was an assistant captain and led his team with 14 assists in his final season.

What This Trade Means for the Devils

This trade shows that the New Jersey Devils are focused on improving their defense. After the 2023-24 season, they traded away defensemen Kevin Bahl and John Marino, and Brendan Smith will become a free agent.

Adding Kovacevic gives the team a strong and experienced player who can help improve their defense in the upcoming seasons.

With the NHL free-agent period starting on July 1st, the Devils are making strategic moves to strengthen their team.

Keep following for the latest news, interviews, and updates on the Devils and their roster changes.