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Devils review 2024

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PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS  They caught fire in 2022-23 were one of the darlings of the East, upset the Rangers in round 1 and everyone bought into the kool aid. The playoffs were expected, a deep run would not have surprised.


FINAL RECORD 38-39-5 83 points, 7th in Division. Missed the playoffs entirely


HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR They did not exactly start of setting world on fire but they played well, they never really caught fire but they kept pulling further ahead of .500. On January 5th Vanacek was impressive, they won and their record was 21-14-2 and they looked poised to be dangerous down the stretch.


LOW POINT OF THE YEAR well from there they spat and sputtered for a couple of months, with the Flyers and Wings fading they appeared to still be sort of in the race come March but they more or less gave up and the low point was, in the time when they needed every victory they lost 7 of their final 9 to finish well out of the race.


STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR The Devils were 21-18-2 on the road 9th best in all of Hockey but were below .500 at home (17-21-3) and booed off the ice at home a lot. No team with a better or same road record missed the playoffs.


WHAT WENT RIGHT Bratt was near elite, he played even better than expected. Hischier overcame a slow start and finished as a premier number 2 center. Luke Hughes was solid, his baby brother is a candidate for the Calder.Meier overcame an awful start and finished with 28 goals. Simon Nemec didnt embarrass himself on the back end. Holtz showed signs of being a solid middle six forward.


WHAT WENT WRONG Defense especially. Hamilton was lost early, not a Norris candidate still lolsing his veteran experience for the year hurt a young crowd. Luke Hughes was raw an inexperienced and truthfully was wretched defensively. Jack Hughes was inured twice and argued with Ruff and the staff. Rumors were that he was floating but refused to come off the ice on more than one occasion especially staying out too long on the power play. Dawson Mercer was a near bust. Mcleod was suspended or stepped away around the halfway mark of the year. The goaltending, they played 5 goalies, all were bad, some awful. 


FREE AGENTS nOSEKK, a defensive center is an UFA. Brendan Smith and Kurtis MacDermid wont be back. Mercer is a RFA and wants term/money.

  The tough ones are McLeod and Cal foote both of whom are suspended and are RFA. Both are needed for a team that played lousy defense, do you sign them or allow them to go play elsewhere if/when everything is over?


TOP PROSPECTS Nemec, Hughes and Holtz are firmly established as long term mainstays. They are thin in ready now prospects, Graeme Clarke is a decent scoring forward who is lousy on defense, That is it, although it is hard to criticize them after adding three top tier blue chip talent players to the roster last year.


OFFSEASON QUESTION MARKS  Who is going to be the coach? The team lost their way under Ruff last year and played worse under Travis Green, the team needs a veteran coach to solidify lines and expectations. Berube and McClellan were the lead candidates.

  Will they find defense? Luke Hughes was a positive shiv on defense, he only wanted to grab the puck and move it forward and got caught all year out of position and was uncoachable. Nemec was raw, Hamilton is bad on defense. They have to add, two, maybe three solid defenseman. Marino was their best defensive d-man which is all you need to know about how bad the blueline was.

 Jack Hughes ego, can it be controlled? He played like a spoiled sulking brat a lot last year. Was it just growing pains or is he going to be a long term problem?

 Finally, who the hell plays in goal? It cant be Jake Allen? Seriously? They have to fuigure out who the  goalie answer is and fast.

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