Skip to content

DeBoer: Kovalchuk-less Devils have a big challenge

Jul 15, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT

Peter DeBoer Getty Images

New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer wasn’t trying to fool anyone today when asked about the departure of Ilya Kovalchuk for the KHL.

According to DeBoer, next season’s Devils team will be a far different version than the one that made it to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.

“Sure it’s different,” DeBoer said, per the Star-Ledger. “You take out a (Zach) Parise and you take out a Kovalchuk. Those are players who single-handedly can do some things that only a handful of players in the world can do. We’re going to have to be a different team.

“We’re going to have to play more of a team game. Our five-man units and our systems are going to have to be air tight. Our special teams are going to have to be better. Goaltending is going to have to be top notch like it has been. There is going to be an emphasis on all those areas because you’re taking out a couple game-breaking players.”

The Devils missed the playoffs in 2013 (though they were perhaps a bit unlucky in that regard), so clearly they have a pretty big challenge facing them next season.

They should, however, be better in one area, and that’s goaltending. You’ll recall that Martin Brodeur was hurt for a lengthy stretch of this past season, during which Johan Hedberg really struggled to fill in. And let’s be honest, Brodeur wasn’t exactly unbeatable when he was healthy, finishing with a save percentage of just .901.

Now, after Cory Schneider came over from Vancouver, the Devils have a legitimate competition for the starting job.

Latest Posts
  1. WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action

    Apr 25, 2015, 2:55 PM EDT

    Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Strome AP

    New York, Nashville and Vancouver are all facing elimination today.

  2. Pens CEO says Johnston, Rutherford won’t be fired

    Apr 25, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

    Mike Johnston Mike Johnston

    Both were in their first season with the hockey club.

  3. Report: Malkin invited to Worlds

    Apr 25, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Yevgeni Malkin #11 of Russia skates against Slovenia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images

    He helped Russia win gold last year.

  4. Avs’ Landeskog underwent wrist surgery

    Apr 25, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Gabriel Landeskog Getty Images

    He declined an invite to the Worlds because of the injury.

  5. Jagr to play at World Championship

    Apr 25, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    Jaromir Jagr AP

    He announced his retirement from international competition nearly a year ago.

  6. Wild’s Dubnyk shakes off six-goal night, saves 36 as Blues pushed to brink

    Apr 25, 2015, 12:28 AM EDT

    Devan Dubnyk AP

    St. Louis couldn’t capitalize on an early lead.

  7. WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    Marc-Andre Fleury AP

    Pittsburgh and Ottawa need to win to survive.

  8. Malkin: ‘I want to say sorry to fans, to my teammates’

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:24 PM EDT

    Evgeni Malkin Getty Images

    He didn’t get a point in the first round.

  9. Video: Prust sparks melee by spearing goalie Anderson

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:57 PM EDT

    Prust, Anderson

    Senators coach Dave Cameron called it “cheap” and a sign of frustration.

  10. It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpta0ntizmjbjndy3yti3nwe0nwfhnwy3odfjn2u2mwrm AP

    Evgeni Malkin finished the series without a point.

  11. Video: Tarasenko continues unreal run with sixth goal on nine shots

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:14 PM EDT

    Vladimir Tarasenko

    Alexander Steen played a big role in that marker.

  12. Blues without Jori Lehtera for Game 5 vs. Wild

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Jori Lehtera Getty Images

    The odds of him playing were initially “50-50.”

  13. Video: Spaling gets unusual goal as puck bounces off arm

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:59 PM EDT

    Spaling goal

    That tied Game 5 between Pittsburgh and the Rangers at 1-1.

  14. Video: Ryan snaps 16-game goal scoring slump

    Apr 24, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    Ryan goal

    is that the start of a breakout for him?

Featured video

Plenty of pressure on Blues
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. Z. Kassian (2785)
  2. S. Weber (2386)
  3. K. Letang (2353)
  4. M. Fisher (2191)
  5. A. Burrows (2137)
  1. C. Ehrhoff (1983)
  2. S. Crosby (1895)
  3. M. Giordano (1817)
  4. T. Hamonic (1803)
  5. D. Carcillo (1763)