The Devils have too many flaws on their current roster, and it will be tough for them to remain competitive in a division that will likely feature the Washington Capitals, the Boston Bruins, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and both the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders this coming season. Here’s a look at what we feel will happen with the Devils this coming season and how the team is building towards a better future.
How the Team Looks
The Devils struggled to get anywhere on offense last season. Taylor Hall was the best performer on offense last year, but he was traded to the Arizona Coyotes during the deadline last year for prospects.
The Devils had 2.68 goals per game, with Kyle Palmieri leading the team with 45 points in 65 games. Nikita Gusev was the only other player who had more than forty points last season. Just about everyone on the roster had a minus rating in the plus/minus category.
Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes are both showing some promise, although it will take a bit for them to develop. Hughes had 21 points in 61 games last season, plus he had a -26 value in the plus/minus category. The Devils expect their top-value draft picks to go somewhere this season.
January 13. Let’s go, baby. pic.twitter.com/yKTAq4opdt
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 20, 2020
The Devils also gave up 3.25 goals per game, the third-worst total in the league. Mackenzie Blackwood will be the primary goaltender following the departure of Cory Schneider. Blackwood had a 2.77 GAA and a 22-14-8 record last season. Blackwood’s goal is to be the main goaltender for years to come, but he’ll need help from his offense to bolster his record.
What to Watch
The Devils will be looking forward to Jack Hughes building up this season, plus the team has brought in forward Andreas Johnsson from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Miles Wood will also attempt to make himself a more valuable player for the team. He scored eleven goals last season, but Wood is anticipated to be drafted by Seattle in their coming expansion draft.
Where will the Devils Finish in the Division?
The New Jersey Devils will finish in last place in the Atlantic Division. The Devils have too many flaws on their roster, and they are still trying to build up some talent. The Devils will likely be in the running for a high-value draft pick, where they could pick top-rated talents like forward Aatu Raty or Kent Johnson.
Will the Devils Reach the Playoffs?
It is clear that the Devils won’t reach the playoffs in 2021 if they’re going to finish in last place in their division. The team will focus the coming season on building their young players.
Don’t be surprised if a top-level player like Kyle Palmieri is on the trading block during the deadline. The Devils will also likely focus on figuring out which players they’re willing to expose to the Seattle Kraken for their expansion draft.
The Devils do feature some high-value players that will make a positive impact in the future. But right now is not the time to place a bet on the Devils, as the team has a ways to go before they can become competitive.
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