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Devils still have big need after signing Corey Crawford, trading for Ryan Murray | What’s next? Who’s left in free agent market?

Devils still have big need after signing Corey Crawford, trading for Ryan Murray | What’s next? Who’s left in free agent market?

Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald vowed to tackle his first free agent market with patience, and that’s exactly what he did Friday after the market opened at noon in the East.

All day.

Almost all night.

With lots of cap space to spend and pressing needs to address, the rebuilding Devils made a big move about an hour before the clock struck 12 midnight by signing veteran goalie Corey Crawford to a two-year, $7.8-million pact.

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What an intriguing addition this was.

Crawford, 35, will go down in Blackhawks history as a franchise great because the Montreal native was in the net for two Stanley Cup wins during his 13 mostly good seasons with Chicago, and this move filled a Devils hole because Cory Schneider, their No. 2 goalie last season when he wasn’t demoted to the AHL, was bought out on Thursday.

Now Crawford will be asked to play a lesser role both as an often-used No. 2 and mentor to starter Mackenzie Blackwood, who was pretty good as a rookie last season.

The Crawford signing was announced 24 hours after the Devils took advantage of a division rival being up against the cap when they acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets for just a fifth-round pick. With Murray, the second pick of the 2012 draft, seemingly over chronic back problems and expected to be a first- or second-pair defenseman next season, he could be a steal for the Devils even though he has just one season remaining on his contract.

That deal also filled a need, which leaves one pressing one for Fitzgerald, who would love to bring in a goal-scorer to play left wing on

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Apple’s new 5G iPhones may be left on the shelf

Apple’s new 5G iPhones may be left on the shelf

Apple has been in the spotlight lately, between antitrust scrutiny of its mobile operating system and the legal battle it’s waging with Fortnite-maker Epic Games over its App Store. Those developments pale, however, in comparison to the company’s main event next week: the unveiling of its latest iPhones.

For all the talk about Apple’s shift to services and subscriptions, the tech giant’s business is still dependent on its core hardware products, so Tuesday’s presentation will be a must-see for investors. There could be a problem this year, though. The lineup’s most vaunted feature — fifth-generation wireless capability — may not be ready for prime time.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

The Cupertino, California-based company is expected to unveil four new iPhone models with 5G capabilities as well as a different physical design and a wider choice of screen sizes, Bloomberg News reported last month. Apple is already touting the new technology’s attributes: Earlier this week, it sent the press an invitation to Tuesday’s event with the cheeky pun “Hi, Speed” as the subject line, referencing the fast new 5G networks.

Investors are betting the iPhones will be a blockbuster success and spur consumers to upgrade. Shares of Apple have risen more than 50% this year and now trade at roughly 31 times the next four quarters’ earnings, nearly double its historical five-year average of 16. And those earnings estimates also have high embedded assumptions. To take one example, Morgan Stanley forecasts Apple’s iPhone sales will grow by 28% in its fiscal year ending in September 2021. That would mark a dramatic turnaround from the 14% sales drop in fiscal 2019 and the estimated 7% decline for 2020.

An elevated valuation would be fine if the new iPhones sell well, but the lackluster reality surrounding the current state of 5G networks could lead to underwhelming demand.

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