Aug 30, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
It’s debatable that the New Jersey Devils were a normal shootout record away from making the playoffs in 2013-14, but the bottom line is that they were pretty close.
With a 35-29-18 record (including a stunning 0-12 mark in the shootout), the Devils finished with 88 standings points, leaving them tied for 10th in the East (although they would have taken the tiebreaker from Ottawa if that mattered). The Devils finished five points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings for wild card spots.
That’s not to say that the Devils were a great team with awful luck. Instead, it might be better to describe them as a one-dimensional team that lacked the goaltending needed to make their defensive strengths pay off. New Jersey tied Calgary for the third-fewest shots per game (26.8) while limiting opponents to an NHL-low 25.5 per contest, so chances rarely happened for either side during their games.
While that doesn’t exactly sound fun, it could prove to be an effective formula if Cory Schneider backs up that mammoth extension he received this offseason and the team improves on offense.
It’s tough to imagine Jaromir Jagr replicating his astounding work from 2013-14, but the Devils are likely banking on improvements from within (maybe at least a sign of life from Ryane Clowe?) and nice outputs from Mike Cammalleri and injury-ravaged former star Martin Havlat. There are quite a few ifs at work for the offense – example: will Adam Henrique make another step in the right direction? – but it’s conceivable that things might be a little better next season.
Unfortunately, their defense doesn’t look as stout now that sorely underrated defenseman Mark Fayne is a member of the Edmonton Oilers. The Devils tend to make the most of their defensive groups, so don’t be surprised if they’re still stingy.
In broader terms, the Devils seem like they’ll make their living being “pesky,” at least if Schneider can carry a workload that will conjure up comparisons to departed icon Martin Brodeur. Much has been – fairly – made about the struggles Brodeur faced the last few seasons, yet if things don’t go well, the pressure could really start to wear on Schneider.
(Some might even call it a “be careful what you wish for” moment for a guy who’s faced a lot of roadblocks to becoming the No. 1 goalie.)
This team seems just as likely to be a bubble team as it could be a cellar dweller, but here’s one near-certainty: the Devils will probably have a better shootout record in 2014-15.
Nov 26, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
Yappy Lappy was at it again.
Nov 26, 2014, 4:06 PM EST
“Anybody can GM, anybody can be a president… whether you’re going to be good at it or not, who knows.”
Nov 26, 2014, 3:54 PM EST
San Jose coach is feeling the heat.
Nov 26, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
Click for video of the incident.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:57 PM EST
Minny dominated L.A. early in the season, but lost 2-1.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:45 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Nov 26, 2014, 2:27 PM EST
Originally out 4-6 weeks, he’s back in just over three.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:04 PM EST
But how much public money will be required?
Nov 26, 2014, 1:03 PM EST
The Blues are one of the few teams in the NHL with a surplus of quality centers.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:57 PM EST
Jordan Binnington on his way up to St. Louis.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:22 PM EST
What are the chances the Islanders, Leafs, Predators, Canucks, Flames and Jets can hang on?
Nov 26, 2014, 12:11 PM EST
Fall from grace for the former 30-goal scorer.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:42 AM EST
Out “a couple of weeks” with a lower-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:28 AM EST
Arizona forward forced the Avs d-man from the game.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:10 AM EST
Dallas forward does have a history with the NHL’s player safety department.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:58 AM EST
To cheer, or boo? That’s the query.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Two teams headed down different paths?
Nov 26, 2014, 10:03 AM EST
He missed the last three games with an upper-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:16 AM EST
It’s a question that could decide a playoff spot or two.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:51 AM EST
Tough start to the season for the veteran defenseman.
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- Sharks players go to bat for McLellan: ‘Why would you get rid of him?’ 0
- Garbutt to have hearing for kneeing Hall 2
- The day before Thanksgiving, six new playoff teams 10
- What they’re saying about St. Louis’ return to Tampa Bay 18
- NHL on NBCSN: Flyers face Red Wings on Rivalry Night 13
- Video: Canucks honor Quinn with “O Danny Boy” 8
- Video: Stars’ Klingberg scores from center ice 4
- Report: Alfredsson retirement to be announced Dec. 4 10
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- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (88)
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- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Bruins’ Lucic expected to play against Habs after getting one-punched (Updated) (47)