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It’s New Jersey Devils day on PHT

Aug 23, 2013, 9:03 AM EDT

Cory Schneider

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The New Jersey Devils.

The New Jersey Devils made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, but there were some major concerns going into the 2013 campaign. Not the least of which was their aging goaltending duo of Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg, who turned 41 and 40 respectively in May.

On top of that, they lost forward Zach Parise to the Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2012 and Adam Henrique was still a question mark despite a standout rookie season.

At first none of that seemed to faze them as they got off to a 8-1-3 start. However, New Jersey struggled offensively and began a gradual decline that turned into a free fall when Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a shoulder injury. Kovalchuk missed 11 straight games and the Devils lost 10 of them — a fact which carries even greater weight now.

The Devils bounced back when the Russian superstar rejoined them, but it was too late. New Jersey finished with 48 points in 48 games, putting them seven shy of the playoffs.

Offseason recap

Oh boy.

Their summer did start out on a positive note. The longstanding question of who would take over for Brodeur was answered when they acquired goaltender Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for the ninth selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (Bo Horvat).

They also managed to re-sign Patrik Elias to a three-year, $16.5 million deal and while the Devils lost David Clarkson, they attempted to replace his offense and grit with free agents Ryane Clowe and Michael Ryder.

Then Ilya Kovalchuk “retired” so he could head to the KHL. The move sent shock waves through the hockey world and while getting out of that 15-year, $100 million contract might actually be beneficial in the long-term, it certainly leaves a huge gap in their offense right now. They couldn’t replace Kovalchuk, but they did get some help by signing Jaromir Jagr.

As if their summer wasn’t eventful enough, Joshua Harris and David Blitzer purchased the New Jersey Devils from former owner Jeff Vanderbeek. Harris and Blitzer both work for private equity firms and each own a stake in the Philadelphia 76ers.

Related:

Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

  1. 950003cups - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Heck of an off season. We look extremely worse on paper without Kovalchuk and Parise. Then Clarkson goes, who was a strong fan favorite. Clowe and Ryder are good, but we still have a huge problem losing Kovalchuk.

    But, if they all buy in, they’ll win games.

    SWARM IT UP!!!

  2. credible316 - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    “Offseason recap, Oh boy” I always love that one!

    At least you’ll have a great draft pi…
    At least your a young tea…
    At least you’ve bottomed out and it can’t get any worse, can it?

  3. ibieiniid - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    everybody, prepare to read some really depressing sh** on PHT today… especially the comments.

  4. davebabychreturns - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    If there’s a team that can keep winning after two consecutive years of losing legitimate impact players for nothing, it’s the Devils.

    That being said it’s still an extremely tall order.

    They are going to have to be a very responsible team but they have two very good goaltenders and Cory Schneider is capable of elite numbers behind a team like that.

    Let’s just say I wouldn’t be jazzed about watching 82 games of New Jersey Devils hockey this season, but if I were a Devils fan I’d happily accept that over forfeiting a top 10 pick next summer.

  5. ron05342 - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    For New Jersey Devils day, you show a guy in a Vancouver uniform.

    Classic.

    • barkar942 - Aug 23, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      You would think they would know what Photoshop is!

  6. thecheeman - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Keys to making the playoffs:

    1) Superb goaltending, which I think we can get all nights with Marty playing only half the games. Devils have like 22 back-to-backs so they should each get chances to play evenly.

    2) Travis Zajac plays like a second-line center instead of a third-line center.

    3) Adam Larsson makes a jump straight from occasional healthy-scratch to top-2 defenseman.

    4) Elias-Jagr-Ryder-Zidlicky-Larsson or Elias-Jagr-Ryder-Zidlicky-Henrique or Elias-Jagr-Ryder-Zidlicky-Zajac is a top-10 power-play unit.

    I’d like to think 2 and 4 are very realistic. 3 not sure what’s going to happen there. Really anything is in play.

  7. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    The one good thing that will come from New Jersey in their rebuilding year is getting a 1st or 2nd rounder back when they trade Jagr to a contender. Not surrendering the pick when they were drafting second to last was one of the biggest blunders in Lou Lamoriello’s otherwise very successful career.

  8. blomfeld - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    HAPPY DEVILS DAY ?

    The Devil (from Greek: διάβολος or diábolos = slanderer or accuser) is believed in many religions, myths and cultures to be a supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly, ranging from being an effective opposite force to the creator god, locked in an eons long struggle for human souls on what may seem even terms (to the point of dualistic ditheism/bitheism), to being a comical figure of fun or an abstract aspect of the individual human condition.

    While mainstream Judaism contains no overt concept of a devil, Christianity and Islam have variously regarded the Devil as a rebellious fallen angel or demon that tempts humans to sin, if not commit evil deeds himself. In these religions – particularly during periods of division or external threat – the Devil has assumed more of a dualistic status commonly associated with heretics, infidels, and other unbelievers. As such, the Devil is seen as an allegory that represents a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment.

    —————————————————————————–

    Despite the recent suffering caused by filthy deserters (Kovalchuk) and two-faced liars (Parise) the Devils will now live to fight another day … and ‘fight’ they will friends, thanks to the arrival of the NHL’s undisputed # 2 goalie ! :)

    *** Top NHL Goalies as per the Sports Desk @ STERN Magazine ***

    1) Jonathan Quick
    2) Cory Schneider
    3) Carey Price
    4) Ryan Miller
    5) Jonathan Bernier

    28) Henrik Lundqvist
    29) Alexander Ovechkin
    30) Roberto Luongo

    • credible316 - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Congrats, you have the leagues best back up goalie.

      • 950003cups - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        Congrats, in a year you’ll have the leagues other best back up goalie as a starter!

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      I can never figure out what the upvotes are for…

  9. jnjdevils85 - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Blomfeld: I had to register to make an account to post a comment, and the only reason I did is to tell you, even though you obviously already know we’re talking about a hockey team you friggen moron so yeah happy Devils day

    • blomfeld - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:09 AM

      FU you pal ! … in no uncertain terms

  10. nj666 - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    This years devils team is completely different from the 2012 team. Between the new players and the owner Its time to start a new era I’m excited to see what happens.

  11. stinkpretty1 - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    History of NHL teams rebuilding through Free Agents isnt very good. Its not necessarily always bad, but not good. Take the Habs in 09 for instance. Did make it to the Eastern Conference finals that year, but had dismantled. Only Gionta is left from that big overhaul.

    The best way to build is the Draft, and everyone knows it.

    I really respect the Devils, my favorite Defenseman of all time was Stevens, but they need to drop a couple of team rule. ie Players have to have short hair and low numbers. Let the boys be creative and do their own thing, hockey players nowadays are way to similar.

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