Some things have changed this offseason for the Devils. One thing being a new General Manager Ray Shero and new head coach John Hynes. Another reason being some offseason moves the Devils made this year.
1. Acquiring Pavel Zacha in the Draft
Fans already knew that the Devils had a lot of interest in Zacha, so when the Devils picked him up, fans were excited. In his first season in North America, Zacha registered nearly a point-per-game in 2014-15, finishing with 34 points (16-18—34) in 37 games for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. His final ranking for the NHL Scouting was 8. Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards said that Zacha has ”high-end skill and is an excellent competitor; he plays an excellent two-way game. He’s physical and solid on his skates and can separate guys from the puck.” In my opinion, I think that selecting Zacha was a great move by Shero, and hopefully Zacha is ready for next year.
2. Trading for Kyle Palmieri
The Devils found a potential scorer to fill that need for some more scoring players. Last season with the Ducks, Palmieri had 14 goals,15 assists, and 29 points in 57 games played. Now the total might not be thrilling but I think he has the potential to score more goals and get more points. The only reason those numbers were so low is because he had better players in Perry and Getzlaf, who easily had the upper hand in points because they are elite players. Now that Palmieri is playing with more middle, lets say mediocre players like Zajac and Henrique and all of the veterans, he now has a greater chance at showing the type of game he plays.
3. Making the Right Moves
Overall in the season, I think the Devils made all the right moves to ensure and solidify that this is indeed a young, rebuilding team. For example, at the Trade Deadline, moving Zidlicky and Jagr. I think Jagr did well and helped us out over the last 2 seasons, but he is in his old days and is sort of losing his stride. Do I think he’s a terrible player? Nope. Just not the type of player the Devils need right now with all the young players. As far as the Zidlicky trade, although he was one of our best defensmen the last 2 seasons, I do like that he is gone. He has great offensive awareness and can come in clutch at times, but his defense would be that game changer that you don’t want. Also, he does take stupid penalties at times, which is a part of the game changers you don’t want. Overall, shipping those guys out was a good thing for the Devils because it allows so much room for more young talent like Damon Severson and Steve Santini for example.
The 2015-16 season for the New Jersey Devils should be an interesting one to watch. With the new staff and some new players, I think the Devils will be somewhat better this year. They just have to find the right combinations and continue what they have been doing and I think they’ll be alright. Will they make the playoffs? My prediction: No. We are not a cup contender yet but who knows? Maybe I’m wrong.
Let me know what you think and leave any questions, comments, and concerns below.