NEW JERSEY DEVILS
The New Jersey Devils had a tough season. They finished with a record of 35-29-18, ending up in 20th place in the league with 88 points, 6th in the Metropolitan Division.
After losing Ilya Kovalchuk to “retirement” they tried to fill the void with some big name and/or big money free agents, like Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder and Jaromir Jagr. They also added their goaltender of the future in Corey Schneider, who was and still is the heir apparent to Martin Brodeur. There were expectations to get into the playoffs, where anything could happen.
- Jagr defied the laws of age, leading the team in assists, points and +/-
- Schneider was good for the Devils, posting a sub-2.00 GAA and .921 SP
- The Devils were offensively challenged, one of 4 teams to fail to reach the 200 goal mark
- Brodeur’s numbers were less than stellar, and a loyalty to him (giving him 39 starts) might have cost the Devils a playoff berth
PROGNOSIS FOR NEXT SEASON
Brodeur will most likely not be back, ending a Hall-of-Fame run with the Devils. But that is a good thing as Schneider will get a majority of the starts, and rightly so. Jagr will be back, but the Devils are getting old with him, Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky all still among their top contributors. It is time for the young players such as Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson to fill their potential and take a leadership role on and off the ice.
5 QUESTIONS WITH PUCKS AND PITCHFORKS
We asked Thomas Formoso, Editor of pucksandpitchforks.com a few questions about the Winnipeg Jets’ season and future. Here are his responses:
1. What was the biggest surprise for your team?
The biggest surprise for the Devils this season was how successful Jaromir Jagr was. Through 79 games, Jagr has 24 goals and 40 assists. 64 points for a 40+ year old forward is beyond impressive. Not every Devils fan was thrilled about Jagr joining the team when there were other young options but he has exceeded expectations. I remember in the offseason noticing a tweet that was a prediction for Jagr that said something along the lines of, “Mark my words, Jagr will have a 30 point season.” He has certainly been the biggest surprise.
2. What was the biggest disappointment for your team?
With the Devils this season, there have been plenty of disappointments. It probably ends in a 3-way tie. Martin Brodeur’s lack of success this season has been tough for every Devils fan to watch now that he has a formidable replacement in Cory Schneider.
The horrific play of our “Captain” Bryce Salvador has been an extreme disappointment. One can only hope he is bought out at the end of the season.
Lastly, the lack of overall success this season has been a problem. Let me explain: Early in the season the Devils blew a 3-goal lead to Edmonton and lost in a shootout. The dreaded shootouts. 0-11 speaks volumes when you are nickel and dimed out of the playoffs. The Devils also only amounted to 1 3-game winning streak the entire season.
3. What is the biggest need going forward?
Offense. The Devils offense just wasn’t good enough this season. The Devils lost to mediocre goaltenders WAY too often. They need to find a first or second line winger to accompany Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr.
4. Who was your team’s MVP this season?
Jaromir Jagr. As I mentioned before, 64 points on an offensively challenged team is impressive and certainly deserves Team MVP. Cory Schneider definitely gets honorable mention. He was snubbed so many times this season and, outside of a rough patch of about 2 weeks following the Olympics, he had been spot on this season.
5. What #hashtag would you use to describe your team’s season or state of the team?
There are 2 that were iconic this season.
#Goals4Cory is pretty self explanatory. I have never seen a goalie have the record he has with the exceptional stats he had for most of the season. If it wasn’t for that rough patch, his GAA would most likely be under 2 and his save percentage would be much higher.
#DeBoerLogic would be the other popular hashtag. Pete DeBoer has done so many questionable things this season. Just the other day, he called his only timeout in the first period, 10 minutes into the game going into a 5-on-3 opportunity. He line-shuffles almost every time they lose and doesn’t seem to want to correct things that even the fans see is a problem.
Thanks to Thomas for taking the time to answer our questions. The Devils need a bit of help but should be in the mix for the playoffs.