2013-14 Season Preview: New Jersey Devils

LAST SEASON

Regular Season:  One year after advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils couldn’t get it together after losing their captain, Zach Parise to free agency.  They finished 11th in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs by 7 points.

Playoffs: n/a

 

Apr 25, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; The New Jersey Devils celebrate a goal by New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) during the third period at the Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Penguins 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

CHANGES

Out:  RW Ilya Kovalchuk, RW David Clarkson, C Steve Sullivan, W Alexei Ponikarovsky, D Henrik Tallinder, G Johan Hedberg

In: W Ryane Clowe, W Michael Ryder, W Jaromir Jagr, G Cory Schneider

Ready To Make The Jump: D Jon Merrill

 

 

 

BIG 3 FACTORS

1.  Net Direction -  The Devils made one of the big moves on draft day, trading their first round pick for goalie Cory Schnieder.  The Devils finally have a player capable of receiving the torch, and that handoff will likely begin in the Devils’ crease this season.

2.  Who Will Score? – The Devils have lost a big part of their offense in the last two summers, with Parise, Kovalchuk and Clarkson all leaving and getting nothing in return.  The additions of Ryder, Clowe and Jagr all have question marks attached to them whether it be health or age.  Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac need to bounce back big time from dreadful seasons for the Devils to have a snowball’s chance in hell…pun intended.

3.  In Lou We Trust – Lou Lamoriello is the longest serving GM in the league and has been at the helm since before Wayne Gretzky was a King.  However, questionable decisions in recent years (the first Kovalchuk contract, not forfeiting the 29th overall pick when they had a chance as penalty for that contract) makes you wonder if the incoming ownership might look for some fresh blood at the helm.

 

PROGNOSISJaromir Jagr of 1995 wouldn’t help the Devils this season.  They were tied for the lowest scoring team in the Eastern Conference last season and that doesn’t look to improve very much this coming season.  Their defense isn’t much to write home about, and the biggest positive is that they have a capable replacement for Martin Brodeur.

PREDICTION: Even with a new-look division that will have a few traditional pushovers, the Devils look like the bottom of the bunch.   8th place in the Metropolitan Division.

 

We will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th.  As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings.  Here is the schedule:

 

Atlantic Metropolitan Central Pacific
1 Sept 9 Sept 8 Sept 7 Sept 6
2 Sept 5 Sept 4 Sept 3 Sept 2
3 Sept 1 Aug 31 Aug 30 Aug 29
4 Aug 28 Aug 27 Aug 26 Aug 25
5 Aug 24 Aug 23 Aug 22 Aug 21
6 Aug 20 Aug 19 Aug 18 Aug 17
7 Aug 16 Aug 15 Aug 14 Aug 13
8 Aug 12 Devils

Topics: Cory Schneider, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils, Season Preview

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