New Jersey Devils 2015 State of the Team


With most teams already finished constructing the bulk of their roster this summer, it gives us a good opportunity to analyze each organization and review what happened in 2014/15 and what to expect going forward.  In this post, we take a closer look at the New Jersey Devils.

So what happened with the New Jersey Devils last season?  Well, not much good.  They finished with 78 points, good for seventh in the Metropolitan Division.  They missed the playoffs for the third straight season since making a Stanley Cup Finals appearance back in 2012.  They fired coach Pete DeBoer mid-season and replaced him with co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens (it worked about as well as you would expect of a crazy science experiment.)  Long-time architect of the organization, Lou Lamoriello, was never one to go against the norm and held true to this last season.

Ever since Zach Parise and then Ilya Kovalchuk left in consecutive summers, the team has been scrambling to remain relevant. However, to Lamoriello’s credit, he realized he had a losing hand and was able to trade veterans Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky for draft picks in an attempt to re-stock the organization’s talent.  It was the first necessary step in what may be a long re-building process.


In typical New Jersey Devils and Lou Lamoriello fashion, “Lams” stepped down from his role as General Manager without public warning.  In 27 years at the helm of the organization, Lamoriello’s teams won three Stanley Cups, made two other Finals’ appearances, and became a model franchise.  But, the good times began to wane in recent years, and eventually Ray Shero was brought in to replace Lamoriello.  While few have the pedigree of Lamoriello, Shero won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and should fill-in admirably for Lamoriello.

Shero’s first order of business was to hire a permanent coach.  To little surprise, he dipped back into the Penguins’ well and tapped John Hynes to be the man in charge.  Hynes’ previous experience was with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins where he led the AHL squad to the playoffs five consecutive seasons.

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With organizations always looking for the “next big thing,” it’s no surprise the New Jersey Devils went this route with Hynes and if he rewards Shero’s faith in him, the Devils should be set up nicely for the foreseeable future.  Of course, there is the chance he’s more Dallas Eakins than Jon Cooper, and in that case, he’ll be out of a job before we know it.

Grade: B-


Well, it’s ugly, which should come as no surprise for a team that finished amongst the worst in the league.  Offensively, they finished 28th in the league in goals scored for per game with 2.15.  The forwards are led by Adam Henrique (43 points), Mike Cammalleri (27 goals), and Patrik Elias.  Overall the group is bland and lacks any game breakers, something they hope will change with the drafting of Pavel Zacha.  However, it’s likely he won’t be ready for at least another season or two.

There is some young talent on the blue line: Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, and Eric Gelinas are all expected to be long-term contributors on defense.  If that trio can continue to develop, the Devils may have one of the more formidable defense groups within short order.

The real strength of the New Jersey Devils though is between the pipes with goaltender Cory Schneider (what is it about Devils’ goaltenders?)  If the Devils had an even average offense, Schneider may very well have been a legitimate Vezina candidate.  His 26-31-9 record is hardly impressive.  But, he posted a .925 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average (fifth and ninth in the league, respectively.)

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils /

New Jersey Devils

At 29 years old, Schneider should have a few more seasons of his prime left, and hopefully for the Devils’ sake, they can put enough talent up front to allow Schneider to win and carry the team.  The Devils added Kyle Palmieri through a trade with the Ducks in an effort to bolster the offense.  It’s a start, but the team is going to need a lot more than his 14 goals before it can be considered a “competent” offense.

Grade: C-


After years of bringing in stop-gap veterans to play key roles, it appears the New Jersey Devils realized that being mediocre was no way to go through life. The team has struggled selecting offensive talent in recent drafts, but it is not completely bare.  In addition to Zacha, the team still has high hopes for Reid Boucher, Stefan Matteau, and John Quenneville to be catalysts up front going forward.  Zacha remains the best hope, but the team will need to fill out the roster with quality youngsters who have upside as opposed to over-the-hill veterans.

If the team can add a few more offensive pieces, with its improving defense and solid goaltending, they could be back in the playoff mix soon.  But, it won’t be a quick fix, although the team will be better for it over the long haul.

Grade: C

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