Editor’s Note: Yesterday we learned that Brian Boyle was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. For more on that read Brian Boyle: Warrior On and Off the Ice
We’re less than 31 days away from the beginning of the 2017/18 season. Today we continue to dive into the 31 NHL teams in alphabetical order, take a look at their previous standings and upcoming season predictions, as well as their key additions and subtractions. Yesterday we looked at the Nashville Predators. Today we look at the New Jersey Devils who are seeking to return prominence or at worst get out of the gutter.
2016/17 record: 28-40-14= 70 points
2017/18 prediction: 31-36-15= 77 points
The Devils scored the third least goals last season and had the sixth worst goals allowed, which is a main reason they ended up with one of their key acquisitions Nico Hischier. For most of the season it seemingly was a certainty that Nolan Patrick would go #1 overall. Injury concerns had the Devils go with Nico, who is an elite two way center, which will help with keeping pucks out of their own net. Nico’s presence will be needed with veteran Travis Zajac sidelined right before the start of training camp.
The Devils like all teams lost a player in the expansion draft and Jon Merrill was their causality. After trading Adam Larrson for Taylor Hall in a blockbuster last year goaltender Corey Schneider was left out to dry with an already thin blue line. This summer General Manager Ray Shero did some wheeling and dealing and brought in two high-ceiling defenders in Mirco Mueller and 2016 Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher to bring some youth and competition to their back end.
Even with the addition of Hischier, Boyle and Johansson, the Devils are still missing too many pieces on defense to be competitive. Yes, Corey Schneider is good, but he’s not good enough to hold it down alone. The future looks good, but for this year, expect more of the same from the New Jersey Devils. Do you think the Devils will return to relevance? Let us know in the comment section or join in the conversation on Twitter!