With much uncertainty heading into the 2016-17 NHL season, the New Jersey Devils may just have a surprise heading our way.It’s fair to say that the New Jersey Devils are do for a surprising season.
Ever since their nearly unrealistic run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, the Devils have yet to get back to the postseason. Since then, they have felt the loss of players like Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, and the retired Martin Brodeur.
On the bright side of that rather gloomy fact, they now have an experienced Cory Schneider in net and a brand new All-Star goal-scorer in Taylor Hall to add to the young developing offense.
The question remains: Do the Devils have anything to look forward to? Definitely.
The Metropolitan Division consists of a deflated New York Rangers, a demoralized Washington Capitals, and an up and rising New York Islanders. It goes without saying that the Pittsburgh Penguins are still a force, the Philadelphia Flyers are nearing the end of their long rebuilding process, and the Carolina Hurricanes as well as the Columbus Blue Jackets still pose no real threat.
Sophomore year coach, John Hynes, proved to be a man well aware of what this team needed to succeed. Despite missing the playoffs, he produced more out of the Devils than what was expected. If the Devils had been a playoff team, it would’ve been without a doubt he’d have been up for the Jack Adams Award.
As for the goaltending situation, it remains exactly how it was left. Cory Schneider proved to be, yet again, that he was the man for the job. Still understanding that he is currently filling history’s shoes, Schneider is considered one of the NHL’s best, after being a backup for the Vancouver Canucks. Hynes, as well as Shero, see no issue having him between the pipes.
The Devils defense would be the only thing that can scare a fan at the moment.
Losing Adam Larsson in the trade for Taylor Hall was well worth it, a trade that NHL 16’s computer was programmed to deny, but it still left the Devils empty in the defense category. Up and coming players such as Damon Severson and Jon Merrill have ways to go before achieving the status of Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko, but veterans Ben Lovejoy and Andy Greene just may be able to keep the defense afloat.
The most exciting part about the new New Jersey Devils is, without a doubt, Taylor Hall. No 9 will bring a young gun factor to the offense they haven’t felt in a very long time. Along with Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique, fans should be anticipating a lot more goals than last season.
Temper expectations, but remain positive. This team could surprise many this season.