Hockey

New Jersey Devils Season Preview

New Jersey Devils
Julio Cortez/AP

To the turnpike we go with the New Jersey Devils. A young core with a bright future. It isn’t looking good in terms of winning now with the divisions going back to normal. Can the Devils young core shock the world? Is this team ready for the playoffs? Let’s break it all down.

The Lines

According to Daily Faceoff, there are the lines right now:

First line – Janne Kuokkanen, Jack Hughes, Yegor Sharngovich

Second line – Tomas Tatar, Nico Hischer, Jesper Bratt

Third line – Miles Wood, Pavel Zacha, Michael McLeod

Fourth line – Nolan Foote, Jesper Boquist, Andreas Johnson

The first line has so much potential. No one is going to question how good Hughes is and can be. However, he needs to get stronger. Sharngovich has had some puck luck which makes him a welcome piece at the top. Tatar does not belong on this team. But since he is on it, he should not be on the second line. Wood has worked hard enough to earn that right and opportunity. Swapping Tatar and Hischer with Wood and Zacha makes a bit more sense. You need to spread everyone out, that we know. But in this situation, the young guys are needed more in the top six than the older players. The young building blocks need that experience more than someone like Tatar. They also need a forward to lead the charge and encourage everyone to step up. Take MacKinnon for example with Colorado.

The Defense

Here are the parings and goalies from Daily Faceoff:

Ryan Graves and Dougie Hamilton

Ty Smith and Damon Severson

Jonas Siegenthaler and P.K Subban

Goalies: Mackenzie Blackwood and Johnathan Bernier

Raise your hand if you had Dougie Hamilton heading east on your New Jersey Devils offseason bingo card. Nobody? Alright then, moving on. He was needed for a defense that looked lost and not able to handle elite speed. There has been a lot of speculation about Subban either getting traded, retiring, or both. As of right now, we have no new information regarding that. If Subban plays, he’s no spring chicken but he still has a ripper of a shot. Graves comes over from Colorado to join Hamilton as the new top pair.

Graves has a lot of experience and was a part of some playoff runs with Colorado. The same can be said with Hamilton and the Canes. Blackwood is a great young goalie similar to what the Bruins have in Jeremy Swayman. While he may not ready to be the fulltime netminder yet, he will get there. That is why Bernier was brought in. Overall, the Devils may contend for a wild card spot for a bit, but will probably fall off down the road and build for the future.

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