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Devilsih bad year- Year in review


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PRESEASON OUTLOOK They signed top free agent Dougie Hamilton, Hughes and Hischier were starting the year healthy, Bernier was added for biggish money to team up with Blackwood in net. Realistically they knew they were not cup contenders but the hope was that they could compete for a Wildcard spot.

 

FINAL RECORD 27-46-9 63 points, seventh in the Metro.

 

HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR Kind of forgotten now but things looked very good early for the team. They won their first two, started splitting games then had a mini hot streak which culminated with a crushing win over the Panthers and then November 11th after beating the Isles they say at 7-3-2 and it looked as if they might need to be taken serious.

 

LOW POINT OF THE YEAR. Then they started a stretch where they won a few and then lost a few more, Bernier went down for the year in late november but as the month was coming to an end they were still in the conversation sitting at 9-6-4 after crushing the Flyers November 28th. Then the wheels fell off. They lost ten of their next eleven with seven of those losses against non playoff teams. From there the rest of the year they would win a few and lose a few more as they stumbled around especially after Blackwood went down and they were playing a combo of not ready AHL kid goalies and never weres who have been around forever like Gillies and Hammond. A promising start got ugly quick.

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT Jesper Bratt had a career year, leading the team in nearly every offensive category. Hischier established himself as a legit number one center with a damn fine season. Jack Hughes missed nearly half the season but was a beast at over a point per game when on the ice. Mercer quietly had a solid season and his ceiling has not been established. Serengovich started slow but finished hot with 24 goals in the year. Severson surprised, with Hamilton and Subban on the back end Severson led the Devils blueline in scoring. Graves who came over in a preseason deal was solid. 

 

WHAT WENT WRONG Heart and soul guy Miles Wood missed all but three games. Subban/Hamilton both seem to have lost a step and didnt come close to earning the money they have been paid. So much more has been expected from Zacha and McLeod, both are established 3rd liners at this point but it looks as if it is their ceiling. Only one player (Mercer) played every game, the Devils were among the leagues worst in total man games missed. Bernier going down early didnt help, losing Blackwood long term and forcing Daws/Schmid who were not ready to carry the water in net was crippling. 

 

FREE AGENTS The Subban contract is finally out from under foot, he is gone like a cool breeze. Vesey was okay asa 4th liner and is also a free agent, nobody else of any significance is on the list.

 

TOP PROSPECTS Daws and Schmid were rushed into duty last year out of desperation, both are good goalie prospects who might stick this year, especially Daws. Reilly Walsh will be given every chance to crack the bottom pair on the blue line. Luke Hughes if he turns pro will do the AHl/NHL shuttle and is considered the teams top prospect.I personally LOVE Alexander Holtz who had a monster year in the AHL and will be a top six forward probably as soon as this year. He is a pure finisher. Nolan Foote looks like a guy who will play a heavy game on the 4th line for a decade. They have at least four kids who will crack the roster to start the year on what is one of the leagues youngest clubs already, not counting Tyce Thompson who missed most of the year but who vows to be ready by opening night next year and might stick on the third line. Lots of promise.

 

STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR Jack Hughes missed 33 games played in 49 and scored 56 points in those games. You would assume the Devils would have had a better record with him on the ice. Nope

 

WITH HUGHES 15-32-2 

WITHOUT HUGHES 12-14-7

Essentially they were a much better team without Hughes in the lineup than with. I have no explanation for that.

 

OFFSEASON OUTLOOK They have no extra picks until the 4th round so the draft is going to help but probably not a ton unless they bump up again like they always seem to. Blackwood is key, when he went down and then tried to come back too early and then went down for longer he took the Devils fortune with him. He must stay healthy. A full season from Hughes is a must as well. Zacha is running out of chances to prove he is anything other than a 3rd line center, it is now or never. Subban is off the books, it is important to spend wisely. The kids who will be injected into the lineup must produce.

 

  I see them as a borderline playoff team if everything breaks right but this is a snakebit organization so nothing ever breaks right, lol. On the right path, very young talented team glacially slow going the right way.

  

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