So something maybe like Jokinen + 2nd as a starting point?
That is pretty big overpayment from what I have see thrown around on him in most threads. Think it would be easier to get him right now, Devils have 8 d-man so a decision will be made before the season on one of them and I don't know they will revisit it later. On top of the fact you need Volchenkov to okay the deal to Carolina to begin with. Also likely easier before the season starts if he would consider Carolina at all.
At the deadline I don't think it would be likely, because the Devils expect to be in a playoff spot also and wouldn't be willing to give up big pieces of the defence then. In the offseason it is possible.
Why would they do that, if they are in playoff contention like the OP said? You can pretty much ask for a highly rated prospect, draft picks, etc.
The OP's assumption that the Devils will be out of a playoff spot at the deadline is a rather large one, and probably not a valid one.
Therefore, Devils fans are responding in the only way that makes sense, making the assumption that a Devils defenceman will get traded during the remainder of this offseason, and that we're most interested in a top 6 forward in return.
I would prefer Ruutu than Jokinen for Volchenkov. He has more grit and more of a natural winger. Also why wait til deadline, do it now. Devils need another top 9 forward and can afford to shed one of the defense, even with Fayne rehabbing from injury.