Hello Devils fans and the Garden State! Are you all ready for some New Jersey Devils hockey? I hope so, because it’s been 10 months since the Devils last played! Anyway, let’s take a look at what’s ahead for our NJ Devils this season.
How last season finished:
28-29-12 68pts (8th in Metropolitan Division, 14th in Eastern Conference.
*Did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs
G-Corey Crawford (However, just recently retired), F- Andreas Johnsson (trade from TOR), D-Ryan Murray (trade from CBJ), D-Dmitry Kulikov (FA WPG), D-Sami Vatanen (FA CAR), & new head coach Lindy Ruff
What happened last season?
Let’s just call last season what it was…it was a very bad year for the Devils. After previously making some high profile moves the previous offseason, those moves did not pan out the way the Devils thought they would. Players didn’t play well or meet expectations. There were some older veteran players as well that were on the decline as well. This resulted in former coach John Hynes and General Manager Ray Shero to lose their jobs. This started the beginning of the Devils youth movement or rebuild whichever you’d like to call it. By the trade deadline the Devils traded players such as Taylor Hall, Blake Coleman, Andy Greene & etc. New Jersey eventually elevated assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald into the role of GM full time after having a highly successful trade deadline acquiring many draft picks and great young assists that will become part of getting the Devils back to being a Stanley Cup contender again. New Jersey’s season was ended on March 13th due to the coronavirus pandemic and weren’t apart of the NHL’s return to play 24 team format to compete for the Stanley Cup.
What to watch for this season
1. Youth and more youth-clearly the Devils are getting younger and are letting the kids play. They want to see what they can do and showcase their abilities. Younger is definitely the theme of this season
2. Jack Hughes- Hughes did not have a spectacular Calder Trophy winning season like anticipated but it wasn’t all completely bad either. He definitely has shown he has the capability of being a number one center in the NHL. Hughes gained 14lbs of muscle and worked on his shooting and accuracy during the offseason. Jack Hughes looked great in training camp and looked more poised, composed, and confident in his abilities. I expect him to improve in his sophomore season.
3. MacKenzie Blackwood- last season showed that MacKenzie Blackwood is the real deal in between the pipes for the New Jersey Devils. He kept his team in games they had no business being in but he did. I expect great things for Blackwood as he’ll have even more chances to play after recent free agent acquisition Corey Crawford retired.
I don’t expect the Devils to make the playoffs as they’re not ready yet. However, I do think they could sneak up on some teams and pull off some upsets this season. As said previously, you will definitely being seeing a lot of younger players in the lineup and this season is a developmental type of season. I look forward to hopefully seeing top prospects like Alexander Holtz and Nolan Foote called up towards the end of the season to showcase what they can do. The future is bright for sure and hopefully we see the beginning of a playoff regular and eventually a Stanley Cup contender.