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It’s New Jersey Devils day on PHT

Jul 27, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk AP

Welcome to our offseason initiative — 30 teams in 30 days.

From July 16 until Aug. 14, we’ll be dedicating each day to a new team by recapping the offseason and looking ahead to 2012-13.

There will also be a series of posts looking at key stories, player profiles and burning questions regarding each squad.

Today, we move on to the New Jersey Devils.

After missing the playoffs altogether in 2010-11, the Devils fell two wins short of winning their fourth Stanley Cup.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to keep Zach Parise with the team that drafted him; their captain opted for the Minnesota Wild instead.

Still, if last season’s results are any indication, this could be a good team anyway. Both aging goalies Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg join Bryce Salvador, Mark Fayne and even Steve Bernier as returning free agents.

Without a splashy addition to ease the loss of Parise, the Devils are counting on the ascension of Adam Henrique, a staggering array of contract years and Ilya Kovalchuk‘s continued brilliance to drive their offense.

Can the Devils defy conventional wisdom once again or will they come back to Earth? Stick with PHT today to study the biggest factors.

  1. muir6 - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Devils have given their day to Minnesota

  2. zaksyuk - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    HELL YEA HENRIQUE AND KOVY BRO. Seriously tho without parise this team was a fish out of water as per missing the playoffs when he was hurt. Marty Brodeur is a year older coming off a long run. The Devills will be in a full rebuild after this year if not at the deadline.

    • martysbetter - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      The year Parise was hurt the Devils iced a VERY different team than the one we saw in the playoffs last year.

      The loss of Parise stings, but it doesn’t hamstring the team by any means.

      Consider the fact that this team was putting a 4th line of Boulton/Janssen/Misc on the ice during the majority of the regular season last year – basically a black-hole of a line, Travis Zajac missed the majority of the season, Jacob Josefson as well.

      Combine those two (hopefully) having full seasons, Larsson and Henrique developing, and the CBGB 4th line (Carter, Bernier, Gionta’s Lil Brother) that did so well in the playoffs – in addition to actually having a playing style the entire team buys into under Deboer – the Devils will roll out 4 solid lines and be fine, we’ll see you all in the playoffs again next year.

      Not to mention the fact the offseason isn’t over yet, and they currently have an extra man on D so Lou still has pieces to work with.

      • thecheeman - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        Carter went from being an utter non-entity to showing he could be of value in certain situations when playing with other guys who have some hockey skills. That fourth line was no fluke, they have real complementary skills with each other. Given that there isn’t anyone who can eat all of Zach’s minutes, this line will be an even greater strength this year. We’ll see how well Little Stevie holds up over a full season in the NHL though.

        Not sure why they had to go out and get Barch to go with Janssen though.

      • zaksyuk - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        Yea okay address the fact that your goalie is done after this year and you have absolutely no foreseeable replacement in sight. Your in one of the toughest divisions in hockey and New York just upgraded. There is almost no way they make the playoffs and when Marty is gone they either sell sell sell for a goalie or spend the money they dont have since they are bankrupt. WORD !

      • thecheeman - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:06 AM

        First Brodeur is signed for two years, not one, so you have that wrong.

        Secondly, Scott Wedgwood should be ready that point. He just played last year on one of Canada’s junior championship teams.

        As for making the playoffs, it’s not like the Devils just snuck in this year. PHI, PIT, NYR, BOS are all clearly better teams on paper, I don’t see anyone else that’s CLEARLY better than the Devils on paper even without Parise. If Marty comes out and plays like he’s 90 years old then yes obviously there’s a huge problem, but you can’t assume that.

      • devlnri - Jul 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM

        “not at all i live in the western conference :D”

        Thats brilliant…and it shows.

    • devlnri - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      Zaksyuk, I dont really think your watching the team your commenting on.

      • zaksyuk - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        not at all i live in the western conference :D

  3. wakegoalie27 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    This team is kinda screwed. They have the rangers, penguins and flyers to deal with… Not only that but brodeur and hedberg in my opinion is the most unstable duo heading into the regular season (yes I’m aware the hawks are also right there). Kovalchuk I will admit has far exceeded what I thought he would do as a devil so if he and henrique can perform at an even higher level than I’d say they are atleast a playoff team. Parise didn’t make the devils but he did make those around him better.

    In my opinion it was Parise heart that is going to be hard to replace. I think the best part of this team is unfortunately the system they run. Which is boring as hell by the way. Anyways, I think with good coaching and a higher performance from kovy and henrique and they are solid team.

    • devlnri - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

      Ok Wakegoalie27, please define this boring as hell system they are running please?

    • devlnri - Jul 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      Another troller….who probably never watches the Devils play. Why dont you give your useless commentary on your own teams page……

      • wakegoalie27 - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        Commonly Referred to as a trap, a 1-3-1, however you want to name it it’s a boring (yet effective) way to win a game

  4. quonce - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    In Lou we Trust

  5. vindicatus - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    They made that remarkable near-comeback run in the second half 2010-2011 without any help from captain invisible. Jack Rapisi who?

  6. meynbass - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I’m more concerned about the coaching changes than losing Parise. If they start off poorly it’s going to be a looooong season

    • thecheeman - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      It seems like there are big positives around both incoming assistant coaches, including the fact that one of them is Scott F-ing Stevens. San Jose powerplay was upper-echelon for years, and he should be able to make good use of a healthy Zajac, Kovy, Zidlicky, Henrique, Larsson, Elias, maybe some more Sykora assuming he re-signs, maybe some Clarkson down low like the Superman goal.

      PK will come back to earth as Zach was a big past, but it would have come back from record setting levels anyway.

  7. thecheeman - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    As per ususal, the team is being very secretive about how Kovy’s recovery from his herniated disk is going. Not suggesting their lying when they think things are fine, but that’s the key to the season right there. You’d think there’d be a little more national attention on it considering he was the 5th leading scorer in the NHL on a team that made it to the cup, and now he’s probably the next Captain (for a generation) as well as the team’s best player.

    All those UFAs next year, Clarkson, Zajac, Zubrus, Elias, might not be inclined to re-up long-term for a team whose best player could start to become a shadow of his former self.

  8. 950003cups - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Parise was a great player. He made players around him better. Then again so did Kovalchuk (Palmieri). Anyone who followed the Devils knows that Parise has lost a step since his surgery. He played great under the Devils system. Good luck to him in Minnesota. He’ll need it, since the Wild are not a cycling team where he is at his best. He can’t score from outside 24 inches, and has a so-so wrister and a terrible slapshot. Worth good money but not worth $100,000,000 for a guy who either choked or been easily shut down in every playoff series he’s ever been in.

    • thecheeman - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      24 inches LOL. I would have given him the benefit of a 5-foot radius, but I wouldn’t have given his wrister even a “so-so” grade. Zach was kind of a black-hole on the Power Play too. Lots of stuff attempts that didn’t have much of a shot, and he can’t play anywhere else on the power play but off to the side of the net down low.

    • martysbetter - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      I’m not trying to troll Wild fans by any means, but this guy is speaking 110% truth – if you’re expecting an offensive force, a sniper, a guy who can score anywhere on the ice – you’re going to be very very disappointed in Zach Parise.

      He excelled under the Devils system because it was tailor made for him – if Yeo continues to use the system that a player like Zidlicky couldn’t stand to play under (not pinching, standing at the blue line, etc) I don’t think the Wild will see the type of play they expect from Suter or Parise.

  9. Stiller43 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Theyre in the toughest division in hockey, just lost their best player, and their goalie qualifies for AARP…

    Im not counting them out of the playoffs, but i dont see another run to the cup.

    • devlnri - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM

      Stiller, Really? That goalie posted some pretty damn good appearances last year. Parise was NOT the teams best player.

      No one seen this past years run, which came 2 victories shy of a Championship, so…what you dont see again, doesnt really matter.

  10. 950003cups - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    The Devils as a product will never be bankrupt. The owner is. Once the Devils go up for sale, it will have a long line of suitors waiting. As for Brodeur being old… LOL. He’s 10 years older than Lundqvist and still routed him in the biggest series of Lundqvist’s life. By the same age Lundqvist is now, Marty had 4 EC Championships and 3 Stanley Cup rings. Last month he added another EC.

    The emergence of CBGB was not so much the talent that brought them together. It was the eye of DeBoer. Parise raved about DeBoer. Do you can assume safely that for the $200,000,000 the Wild spent on Parise and Suter, you’ll see him fired by the new year. maybe Brent Sutter will join along with Jaime Langenbrunner. The Wild didn’t gain any postseason stars, which shouldn’t be a problem anyway since they’re an 82 game a year team anyway. Goaltending there is horrible, and it’s gonna be panic in Minnesota soon.

  11. 950003cups - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    CORRECTION:

    *you’ll see Yao fired by the new year.

  12. devlnri - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Well I hope this day dedicated to the Devils is going to amount to something better than the usual coverage. If were just going to here the same type of canned commentary, that is coming thru on comments by people other than fans of the team will be quiet boring. The whole Marty is old and the Capt left for Minnesota angle is been worn down to the bone, so Im hoping you can come up with some real insight. Otherwise we can listen to Ranger and Flyer fans give their stupid commentary…

  13. MannySilvers - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    I think a real key to the Devils season this year will be how Kovalchuk plays without Parise in the lineup. Think about how much more dominant Malkin is whenever Crosby’s out. Kovy hit a new level the second half of 2010-2011 when Parise was out, if he can do the same now the Devils will be in good shape.

  14. muir6 - Jul 27, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Lamarillo is an evil genius He will put a playoff team together

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