New Jersey Devils
NHL 15: New Jersey Devils Guide
Written By: FilmNerdasaurus
Year in Review:
The New Jersey Devils were supposed to be bad. After losing Zach Parise 2 years ago to free agency and Ilya Kovalchuk to homesickness the year after, the Devils were suddenly without 2 of their best scorers/forechecker/leaders…oh, and David Clarkson too. How did they fill the void? With a 42 year old Czech, a streaky scorer, an injury magnet, and a young Swiss. It does help that the 42 year old Czech was Jaromir Jagr, but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to fill the holes that were left from the Parise/Kovalchuk departures. So the team that had reached the Stanley Cup Finals just 2 years ago entered the season predicted to finish near the bottom of the league, and with no 1st round pick all hope seemed lost.
Then the Devils started 0-4-3.
It was the start that was expected, but hope appeared in the eighth game of the season in the form of a 4-0 victory over the New York Rangers. Notable facepuncher Cam Janssen scored a few – he had more goals than Claude Giroux for a good while. Hopes were raised – maybe this season wouldn’t be so bad. And then…well, it kinda just stayed meh. The Devils never seemed to get rolling and after winning a game like the team they put on the ice in 2012, they would play terribly and look like they had a mountain to climb back to where they were. It was a lot of “3 steps forward, 4 steps back.” The best example I can give is when they played the St. Louis Blues twice in 9 days. The first game was in New Jersey during a big snowstorm and the Devils laid the smack down in the form of a 7-1 victory. 9 days later, they lost to them 3-0 in St. Louis. How does the team that scores 7 goals against a team in one game get completely blanked by them 9 days later? I don’t know, but the Devils found a way. Some people may think the Stadium Series game would be a shining example of the Devils season because they started out playing really well, controlling possession, and then just collapsed, but to that, I would reply that to my recollection, the Devils did not play in an outdoor game this season…nope…..never happened.
In all seriousness, the Devils were a lost, thrown together team and it showed. Injuries with our forwards and defensemen, starting 7 defensemen, and not winning a shootout (setting NHL records in the process) just created even more problems for the Devils…and yet they still were in the hunt for the playoffs in the last few weeks. I think the best way to summarize the 2014 Devils were was a team of transitions: transitions on offense, defense, and the biggest – in goal.
Yep – we sucked at the shootout this season. 0-13 and until a rookie forward scored we struggled to even get the puck in the net. When all was said and done, the Devils scored on just four of 45 shootout attempts for a shooting percentage of just under 9%. Their shootout woes even spawned the creation of a website - Have the New Jersey Devils Won a Shootout Yet?. It’s funny because 3 years ago we were #1 in the shootout, but we also had Parise and Kovalchuk as a 1-2 punch which almost created no need for a 3rd shooter. Unfortunately, they are gone and this year we just couldn’t get it done even once. Hopefully puck luck will swing the other way next season and the Devils will win a shootout in their first 5 attempts. At least I hope so, otherwise I’m losing a bet.
New Management, a new sponsor, and a first round pick
Another big change for the Devils was new owners as Josh Harris and David Blitzer purchased the Devils for 380 million and knowning we have owners who have just a bit of cash, which is a nice thing when it comes to looking to field a quality product.
The Devils also went all in and got a new sponsor. Did you know you can legally gamble online in New Jersey? Well, thanks to our new sponsor partypoker.com and their ubiquitous ads and sponsoring of the power play, we sure as hell did. Last year, when the Devils went on the powerplay it was sponsored by PSE&G, which is a power company, which just makes sense. When they came back from commercial break, where an ad would play, it was partypoker.com. When Chico got nachos it was sponsored by partypoker.com. In fact the original title of this post was going to include “sponsored by partypoker.com,” but they wouldn’t compensate us, the cheap bastards.
Finally, the ruling that took away the Devils first round pick as a result of the first Kovalchuk deal was reversed and subsequently the Devils received the 30th pick of the 1st round (un-tradeable) in this years draft. Many believe this ruling was overturned because of Kovalchuk’s retirement and because the new owners of the team were not involved with the previous dealings. Doesn’t seem fair to punish a team for a deal from an owner that is no longer there to a player who retired. Or, it could be that multiple teams around the league were signing players to deals nearly as bad as Kovalchuk’s with exactly zero penalty applied (i.e. Minnesota and Nashville),. Anyway – with the 30th pick the Devils selected John Quenneville, who is related to a famous coach and is projected to be a solid two-way center in the mold of Adam Henrique.
Highlights From the 2013 – 2014 Season:
- This play. We are all familiar with the Devils shootout woes this past season (and the one before as well), so at this point fans were nervous. With 3 seconds left the Devils attempt this play and it pays off. Personally I want to know what was going through Jovanovski’s head here. Probably something like
“Oh Jagr is pointing to Zidlicky to get in position and isn’t lining up next to me. Oh well I’ll just leave him alone”
Such a beauty of a play and a great way to avoid the shootout.
Andy Greene has been a great defenseman for the Devils, and over the last 2 years he has started to contribute on offense as well. A lot of us in /r/devils were upset he didn’t get an invite to the Team USA Olympic Squad. Greene plays nearly mistake free hockey and is a great voice in the locker room. He was signed to a long contract extension this summer and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Just because I don’t want to turn this into the Andy Greene show, here’s 2 more plays from him
Why this play is awesome:
- It’s an OT winner on the Rangers
- It’s a rocket
- It makes a lot of us excited for what is to come
Gelinas has an absolute bomb of a shot and it’s should only get better, which is scary. Here’s a few more.
- Bonus train noise from Chico
We are going to miss Volchenkov and these hits he brought with him. However, we most certainly will not miss his contract.
Is it a slash? Maybe. Did he have a loose grip on his stick? Possbily, but that deke though. No call aside such a great move and one of Brunners only good moments from this past season.
I included this because the rather well-known Chico Resch retired from being the Devils play-by-play announcer at the end of this season, and this is a prime example of his play calling abilities. Also that zoom on DeBoer, classic. Chico was passionate in his calls and he certainly let it out here. We are definitely going to miss Chico next season. Speaking of people we are going to miss, lets go to the last highlight:
It doesn’t matter what happens with Marty, the end of this season was the end of the Brodeur era for New Jersey. As the sign states – The Man. The Myth. Our Legend. It will be a little weird to not see Marty in net for us, but it was definitely time.
Why the New Jersey Devils Will Win the Stanley Cup This Year:
Because Uncle Lou doesn’t like to lose and Lou addressed a lot of problems this offseason. He got rid of a bad contract (Volchenkov) and in doing so gave the green light to the young guys to show their stuff; he went got a proven scorer in Cammalleri; he got a low risk high reward player in Havlat; and he locked up Cory Schneider and Andy Greene long term. The goalie of the future is signed and the defense will only get better. The offense has improved, so if the Devils’ new additions click they will win the cup and raise another banner.
Why the New Jersey Devils Won’t Win the Stanley Cup This Year:
Poor chemistry among the new signings, the young players don’t live up to the hype, and Peter Harrold gets way too many starts. Cory apparently can’t handle being an actual 55+ game starter and Havlat and Clowe break like cheap wine glasses in the first week of the season leaving too-large gaps in the offense to fill with AHL call-ups. Ryder stays cold for 95% of the season and Jagr’s age finally catches up to him and beats him into the ground. Cam Jannsen will lead the team in scoring. At least in what would be the biggest fuck you to Bettman, the Devils win the lottery and get the 1st overall pick.