The New Jersey Devils have lost 10 games in a row. This is the absolute rock bottom for the team in another dismal. However, this isn’t the worst thing in the world. Tanking is the Devils only course of action for the final 13 games of the season.
The New Jersey Devils season that has spun out of control since the California trip has hit an all time low. A failed comeback against the lowly Arizona Coyotes saw the Devils drop into last in place in the eastern conference, and that’s coming after a loss againstNHL-worst Colorado.
There’s no way the season could get any worse. However, tanking the season, if this isn’t it, isn’t the worst thing in the world for the boys in red.
In a draft class that lacks a name such as Connor McDavid and/or Auston Matthews, trying to secure the Devils the highest spot available would be the smartest move. Beyond the first few picks in the upcoming draft, there are no real stand out names. While the Devils have gotten names such as Brian Gionta and Adam Henrique at 82nd overall, Patrik Elias at 51st overall and Mark Fayne 155th overall, there’s no guarantee they will find a gem in this draft. Even so, it would take years for them to be ready for the NHL.
Now, the loss against the Coyotes shows that they are still trying to save the season. In fact, they should be doing the exact opposite. The team fought at uphill battle but still lost five to four. At this point efforts like that are more than just wasted on meaningless games. They are players risking permanent injury in a game that means nothing.
This isn’t to say that a team should just stop playing altogether, but when a team starting trailing by a certain point in a game, they should consider keeping the bleeding to what it is. A big complaint is that the team is wasting Cory Schneider’s better playing years stuck in a rebuild. With only 13 games left in this painful to watch season, the team might want to consider starting Keith Kinkaid a bit more. Perhaps they could even call up a goalie from Albany, such as Scott Wedgewood.
It might be hard watching the Devils play this poorly. It makes attending these beloved games even more difficult, especially since team all around you are playing well and a group of their fans is likely to invade. For the fans of Jersey’s team, the rebuild is just as hard on them as it is on the team.
While the beginning of the Shero Era is off to a rough start, the fans dream of the 90s and 00s. The playoffs were a guarantee, the New York Rangers were bad for a 10-year stretch in there and the Devils were always a contender.
But times have changed and so has the game of hockey, and the Devils organization has had trouble adapting. For inspiration, the team can look to their cross-river rivals. The Rangers built their team up, trading away all of the again superstars they acquired and drafted well. They groomed players that have led them to as far as the Stanley Cup Finals, and are contenders every season. Even though the team has a lot of picks in this year’s draft, the grooming of players takes time.
Broadway’s success has gone down while the Devils have seen their team go from the oldest in the league a few years ago to a team of rookies, in which the quality of each team, as well as their records, have gone in a downward direction. While the youthful direction is for the benefit of the team, they do need some players with veteran experience.
Players such as Pavel Zacha have shown they need more time in Albany to develop. Getting a young player in the draft that could end up having chemistry with Zacha could be a lethal combination if they both make it back to the NHL level. The youth movement has been a positive for the Devils in otherwise dark times. Given more time, however, and they could be the next big thing on ice in Newark.
The Devils have been rebuild for a while now. With this season going as poorly as it has the team can still help the cause. Tanking is something no team wants to do or acknowledge. However, for the sake of the team, it is the best thing the New Jersey Devils can do.