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. NHL looking into Quenneville’s ‘grabby’ gesture from Game 1

    Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Quenneville

    That would be the gesture right there —–>

  2. Getzlaf to play Game 2, looks awful

    Apr 18, 2014, 10:49 AM EDT

    Getzlaf

    “Luckily he’s married.”

  3. Video: PHT Extra — can Detroit exploit Boston’s blueline?

    Apr 18, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    NyquistRasnk AP

    Plus a look at Game 2 of the Bolts-Habs and Stars-Ducks series.

  4. Ovechkin to play for Russia at World Championships

    Apr 18, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

    Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

    He’ll try to end the year on an up note.

  5. Blue Jackets GM likes ‘relaxed-intense’ effort from Game 1

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

    Evgeni Malkin, Derek MacKenzie AP

    They’re not intimidated by the Penguins.

  6. PHT Morning Skate: Bruins-Red Wings finally drop the puck

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:24 AM EDT

    Milan Lucic AP

    Three games will keep your Friday night occupied.

  7. Sharks go on the attack, defeat Kings in Game 1

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:21 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One Getty Images

    Things got interesting in the third period.

  8. Video: Stastny scores late to send Avalanche-Wild to OT

    Apr 18, 2014, 12:41 AM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

    Colorado erases two-goal deficit to send it to extra time.

  9. Update: Jay Bouwmeester likely not injured after all

    Apr 18, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT

    St Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    It at least seems like Jonathan Toews is shaking off bumps and bruises.

  10. Video: Sharks’ Brown runs Voynov into Quick, scrum ensues

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:22 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 8.18.27 PM

    These teams don’t like each other.

  11. Video: Hjalmarsson lands big hit on Backes

    Apr 17, 2014, 10:58 PM EDT

    hjar AP

    The Blues forward is usually the aggressor.

  12. Sharks scratch Havlat in Game 1 against Kings

    Apr 17, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT

    martinhavlatgetty Getty Images

    Opting to go with Mike Brown instead.

Featured video

Detroit must exploit Boston's young D
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (4404)
  2. T. Oshie (3861)
  3. M. Duchene (3672)
  4. B. Bishop (3087)
  5. H. Zetterberg (2892)
  1. P. Bergeron (2796)
  2. V. Tarasenko (2772)
  3. D. Backes (2725)
  4. O. Palat (2539)
  5. M. Brodeur (2536)