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Could the Devils become the second team since the lockout to win it all after falling just short?

Jul 27, 2012, 11:37 PM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

It’s extremely hard for any defending Stanley Cup champions to repeat, but it’s just as difficult for the the club that fell just short to bounce back in the following campaign. They suffer from the same short summer that the winners have, minus the euphoria that comes with victory.

Since the lockout, the Edmonton Oilers are the only team to outright miss the playoffs after losing in the finals during their previous campaign, but only one team managed to redeem themselves after falling just short one year prior.

That would of course be the 2008-09 Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins. They got off to a rough start in their comeback campaign, but they got hot after head coach Michel Therrien was replaced with Dan Bylsma and never cooled down.

The Penguins’ story might offer hope for the Devils in more ways than one. After all, Pittsburgh in 2008 had a particularly rough summer too.

Pittsburgh, in its early stages of what has been an ongoing saga to find elite wingers to work with superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, acquired Marian Hossa during the 2007-08 campaign. However, their attempt to re-sign him as an unrestricted free agent that summer failed. Instead Hossa, along with their backup goaltender Ty Conklin, decided to leave Pittsburgh in favor of the team that had just beat them in the Stanley Cup finals: the Detroit Red Wings.

The New Jersey Devils will also be looking to win just a couple more postseason games in 2012-13 despite the loss of an elite player in Zach Parise.

Naturally, the circumstances are different. For one thing, Hossa’s stint with the Penguins was brief while the Devils are losing their team captain and a man they drafted nearly a decade ago. However, like the Cup-winning Penguins, the Devils have a wealth of talent beyond the player they lost.

The New Jersey Devils are clearly worse off without Parise, but they still have Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, Adam Henrique, David Clarkson, and Travis Zajac to give them a pretty solid offensive core. Their power-play might also get a boost from Adam Larsson, who might take a step forward in his sophomore season, and a full campaign with Marek Zidlicky. Their goaltending is a significant wild card, but even at his age, it’s hard to ever dismiss Martin Brodeur.

I wouldn’t call the Devils’ Stanley Cup favorites going into the playoffs, but they certainly look like a team that can get through the massive blow of Parise signing with the Minnesota Wild.

  1. highlander24 - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    No, because they cannot beat the Los Angeles Kings. GO KINGS GO.

  2. 950003cups - Jul 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Devils will figure things out in no time. If they get in the playoffs, then they clearly will have overcome Parise. Any success in the postseason is irrelevant since Parise never did anything significant either way after Game #82… Still, I’m very surprised he left NJ. Unless the rumors are true that he hated Martin Brodeur. If so… He’s childish. In 40 years Zach will be telling his grand kids of the days when he once played in a cup finals with Martin Brodeur.

    But as far as moving on… The Devils biggest problems were when they lost strong defensemen to free agency, not wingers. The big question is, can they overcome not having a goalie in 2 years.

    They have Marty and Hedberg for 2 years. When do they start molding the youth? Who’s gonna show them tricks on puck handling? We may never see another puck handling goalie like Brodeur ever again. It’s very possible.

  3. chazxcore - Jul 28, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    It is going to be tougher than last year. Their main competition has basically stayed the same while they lost arguably their best player. With Parise leaving, they lose 30+ goals, 40+ assists plus the influence he brings on the play of others. Marty is a year older, which may or not be a problem…age didn’t seem to bother him too much last year but you never know.

  4. 950003cups - Jul 28, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    What happens if Parise scores 25 goals next year in Minny? Does that mean we saved 5 goals?

    I believe his scoring peaked in 08/09 at 45. It’s regressed a lot as defensemen figured him out. Just keep him 3 feet from the crease and he’s a 10 goal a year guy.

    Lou Lamoriello will not leave this team in tatters. His next move will be to get Vanderbeek out and “sign a new owner” who has big money and big balls.

  5. ron05342 - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    No.

  6. kwall55 - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    They lost Zach parise.. How does that turn them from a contender to missing the playoffs? Dude is good but 7.5 mil a year? HAHA they will be just fine.. I would have taken him on the wings for no more then 6… Let’s get some real news stories NBC…

  7. mikeincmn - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    I havent heard any rumblings of Parise hating Brouder. Maybe he did, maybe he didnt, but I dont buy that was a factor in his choice of where to sign. Marty has one, maybe 2 years left and then he is off to retirement, seeing as how Parise was always going to sign a long term deal I doubt that mattered to him. Sometimes I think we look too hard for a story, maybe the guy just looked at it and felt like the ownership was a mess and he didnt think they could add talent and he probably really did want to go home.

    As for the team? Well, i think they can make the playoffs, but only if Brouder stays healthy and consistent. They still have a nice core of talent on defense and offense, but you never know when great players get older when the wall will hit.

  8. andyb02 - Jul 28, 2012 at 5:55 AM

    They were a fluke last year and just got hot at the right time. They made it to the finals despite being the inferior team to everyone they played. They have no shot. Brodeur should have left while they were on top of the Eastern Conference. Now he’ll finish his career as the Devils are on a downward slope.

  9. zaksyuk - Jul 28, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    No

  10. broadstbully33 - Jul 28, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    No

  11. soupcanarmygeneral - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    this article should be about the soup can army and crosbys wang, cause wang is what the soup can army is all about… dont get stung by the Cros-Bee

    • nyrangersnation - Jul 28, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      HAHAHA it’s nice to know the Pittsburgh Penguins are all about Wang. And we wonder why people make jokes about Crosby being a fairy. Can a Penguin fan please tell me why they are called the soup can army and Crosby is called soup can sid because that makes absolutely zero sense and might be one of the worst nicknames I’ve ever heard.

      As far as the Devils go, I don’t see it. The Penguins may have lost Jordan Staal but they have intriguing prospects that should keep them in the 6-4 range especially if Fleury learns how to play goalie again. The Flyers got worse and without Pronger, I don’t think they get higher than the 7th seed unless Bryzgalov has some off the charts year. I honestly don’t see it happening for the Devils. They’ll need a TREMENDOUS year for Henrique and Larsson and Kovalchuk. Not that that’s impossible but I think Ottawa will be a bit better, Buffalo will be a bit better.

      Here’s how I think the top 8 teams (in no particular order) will be for Eastern Conference:

      1. Rangers
      2. Bruins
      3. Seantors
      4. Penguins
      5. Flyers
      6. Sabres
      7. Capitals
      8. Lightning

      • soupcanarmygeneral - Jul 28, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        oh yeah, you know the pens are loving the wang. you cant spell penguins without penis… WE LOVE IT.
        he is called soup can cause his dads wang was like a soup can and since he used to drink from it every night before going to sleep and you are what you eat.

    • 19inarow - Jul 28, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      Your parents are doing a terrible job.

  12. 19inarow - Jul 28, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    “…they certainly look like a team that can get through the massive blow of Parise signing with the Minnesota Wild.” The writer has fallen far short of proving this statement.

  13. kangarooparm - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Comical. I’m a Ranger fan who lives in Jerz. The devils have had immutable success over the last 18 years and kudos for the consistency. The credit can be spread around to a handful of people, but really it’s pretty simple: they’ve had one of the best goalies of all time since 92-93. Sports are cyclical and NJD is so overdue for a bad 5 year run. It’s plain to see. And bad 5 year runs are always worse in “small markets”.

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