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Devil of a time offseason primer

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Wow what a surprising season they had. In the NHLs toughest division the Devils were an irrelevant afterthought by pretty much everybody but someone forgot to tell them. Led by Taylor Hall who had a midseason 26 game point streak and who had his finest season with 39 goals and 93 points they somehow managed to put on a shocking performance and beat out the Panthers for the final spot.

  Hall was a God, a man on a mission to finally make the postseason.Beyond him, there were players who were in and out, Palmieri potted 24 goals but missed 20 games, Hirschier was good but went through a lot of rookie ups and downs. Will Butcher signed as a college f/a and started like Bobby Orr but by midseason played more like Bobby's cousin Colton. In net Cory Schneider was good early dreadful in the middle and benched late for journeyman Keith Kincaid. Maroon was a very nice addition at the deadline but Grabner was nigh on invisible. Bratt and Wood had moments but had long stretches of being irrelevant. Possibly the best addition was Sami Vatanen who came aboard for long time underachiever Henrique and stabilized the blueline after Butcher fell off. 



Maroon is someone whom they would love to resign if the price is right he was a great fit. Grabner was a poor fit and is certainly moving on. After that a bunch of ho hum vets such as Eddie Lack, Drew Stafford, John Moore and Jimmy Hayes will not be missed. They will attempt to resign Brian gibbons who was a favorite of Coach John Hynes.

  They will likely be linked in the following weeks to about every free agent because they are sitting pretty cap wise. Well maybe not every free agent, they might not get into a bidding war for that Russian fella Kovalchuk.



Hirschier proved worthy of a top draft pick and looks like a top six forward for the next decade with upside. Michael Mcleod will have a shot at sticking as a middle six winger next year with upside but he needs to continue to fill out his frame. John Quenneville may make the team as a grind line center who in a pinch may fill in on the third line. Overall a very weak bunch with very little if any ready now prospects.




WAS LAST YEAR FOR REAL OR A FLUKE? The season was the definition of a fluke. 97 points in spite of a measly plus 4 goal differential, they were carried by Hall, a man on a mission far beyond what they should have done. The biggest sign that last year was a fluke was there insanely good record in one goal games, they went 25-8-9 in one goal games, in games of more than one goal deciding the game they were a very ordinary 19-21. Under the theory of what goes up goes down, they are probably an 80-85 point team next year unless they make some changes. They were extraordinarily lucky in one goal games and that usually doesn't repeat itself.



Can he be? He hasslipped for several years now, he still has four years at six million per on his hands and the Devils seem to have soured on him. I read in multiple places that the Isles are interested but the one that I get a kick out of is the thought of Schneider returning to Vancouver. I haven't read it anywhere, but the Canucks cannot be happy with the duo in net and Schneider would be a interesting option.


WHO WILL THEY SIGN? they have cap room and I think that Carlson is a perfect fit. Failing him, Green might come aboard, they were close to pulling the trigger on a deal for him late last year.


  Interesting offseason, a lot of times when a team overachieves they tend t overrate their players but with a ton of cap room the Devils may make a splash.

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