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Trade Coverage

Devils focused on what they can control

Schlemko, Stempniak could be targeted by Stanley Cup contenders

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Stempniak ties it up

NYR@NJD: Stempniak knocks in a rebound

2/2/16: Lee Stempniak scores his 15th of the season as he knocks in a loose puck, and the call is confirmed after a Rangers' challenge

  • 02:23 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils entered their game Tuesday against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+, TVA Sports, NHL.TV) three points out of the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. 

General manager Ray Shero could decide he wants to be a seller ahead of the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, which comes at 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 29. Two players rumored as potential candidates to get traded to a team looking to add depth for a run at the Stanley Cup are defenseman David Schlemko and forward Lee Stempniak.  

Schlemko has played for four NHL teams during his eight-season career but never has been a part of a trade on deadline day. He's already set NHL highs this season in games played (52), goals (six), assists (11) and points (17). 

"Obviously you think about [trade deadline] because [the media] makes a pretty big deal about it," Schlemko said. "But you come to the rink and forget about it and do your job. We're in a playoff hunt and that's what we're focused on. If it happens, it happens and it's out of your control. I think that's the mindset you have to have." 

Stempniak has reached 40 points for the fourth time in his NHL career but the first time since 2009-10. He leads the Devils with 25 assists and 40 points in 60 games. 

Video: NJD@WPG: Stempniak deflects the Cammalleri pass in

"I think you know what's out there," Stempniak said. "But for us, and especially me, I'm just focused on these next three games. You never know what's going to happen, Things happen and they're out of my control. It's not weighing on my mind very much." 

Stempniak, who has played 768 NHL games for eight teams in 11 seasons, was traded by the New York Rangers to the Winnipeg Jets on March 1, 2015 for forward Carl Klingberg. 

Devils coach John Hynes has seen Shero's trade deadline work up close when he was coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Pittsburgh Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate, and Shero was GM of the Penguins. 

"Ray has so much experience and is a great communicator," Hynes said. "I think he's found times where he and I could have a meeting and go out to dinner to discuss the team and where things are going, and that's a great perspective." For me he's been a great resource and a great help, and it's nice when you're on the same page as far as how you want to do things from the coach and GM, and we have that." 

Shero was active prior to the trade deadline with the Penguins, but Hynes didn't seem to mind if the group he has Tuesday remains together past it. 

"It's been a high-character group," he said. "And what I mean by that is we don't have guys with issues. We have guys willing to work, practice and they're on time, they want meetings and want to get better. We don't have issues like that in and around our team, which is probably the first step in giving yourself a chance to win games. 

"I think they also play hard for each other, they've built a chemistry, and they care for each other and care about the results. When you have that it gives you the best chance to not only have a good season on the ice, but an enjoyable one in and around the rink." 

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