We are going to look at why the New Jersey Devils will and won’t make the postseason in 2020-21.
There is no doubt that the New Jersey Devils, along with the likes of the Florida Panthers and the Chicago Blackhawks, have been one of the biggest surprise stories of the 2020-21 NHL season so far and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime yet.
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Despite being stuck in an incredibly stacked and uber-talented East Division, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding how big of an impact new Head Coach Lindy Ruff would have on this team going through a rebuild, the Devils are currently 6-3-2 on the year and, with games in-hand, they are very much in contention to make the postseason.
Will they though? We’re a quarter of a way through the 2020-21 season and the way the New Jersey Devils are playing you wouldn’t want to bet against them, but there is still a lot of hockey to be played and a lot of obstacles could be placed in their way. So, without further ado, let’s delve into some of the reasons why this franchise will and won’t be a Playoff team this year.
Why the New Jersey Devils will and won’t make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2020-21
Against #1: East is stacked
We’ll start off with an obvious one – The East Division is absolutely loaded and it is arguably the most competitive division in the National Hockey League. From heavyweights in the Boston Bruins, the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins, to teams on the rise in the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Islanders, there is a hell of a lot of competition for the four postseason spots.
The Bruins look a class above so far and you can bet that new Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Ron Hextall will make a big move at the Trade Deadline in order to help Sidney Crosby win one more ring, while the Flyers, the Capitals and the Islanders all have the talent and the depth needed to get hot down the stretch and cross the finishing line.
Then you have wildcard options in the New York Rangers who have a bevy of young talent and some stars in the ilk of Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere who have struggled so far this season but, if they get hot, then don’t count the Blueshirts out from making a run.
You also have the Buffalo Sabres who, despite doing Buffalo Sabres things coupled with mounting trade speculation regarding franchise cornerstone Jack Eichel, you can be confident that their General Manager Kevyn Adams will look to make a big move or two at the Trade Deadline in order to make one last ditch attempt to placate their star center.
So, overall, while the New Jersey Devils are off to a pretty impressive start, they face a hell of a lot of stiff competition for that fourth Playoff spot and, even if they can make all their games up after being shut down earlier in the season due to COVID-19, they may well just miss out because of the amount of very good teams in the East Division.