New Jersey Devils Surprising 2015-16 Campaign

The 2015-16 New Jersey Devils team were projected to have one of the worst records on the NHL. As of February 21st, New Jersey has a winning record of 29-24-7 (65 points), and are 1 point shy of a Wild Card position.

The Devils acquired New Jersey raised, forward Kyle Palmieri from the Anaheim Ducks for two draft picks,  at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in Florida, on June 26th. Palmieri had career highs of 14 goals and 31 points in 71 games in the 2013-14 season, his third of four years in Anaheim. As of February 21st, in 60 games, Kyle already has career highs in goals, 22, and in points, 39. He has been a great addition for New Jersey, and will likely to resign with the team in the off-season, for his 3 year contract will end, making him a restricted free agent (RFA).

There are a lot of young, fresh bodies in the Devils locker room. A few of those young players are forwards Joseph Blandisi and Reid Boucher, and as well as defenders Damon Severson and Adam Larsson. Blandisi was called up from Albany in mid December, and in 21 games, Joseph has had 5 goals and 12 points. Boucher, on the other hand, in 18 games, has 4 goals and 9 points. On the blue line for New Jersey, Damon Severson has 12 assists and 13 points in 54 games. 2011 4th overall pick Adam Larsson has 11 assists and 13 points in 60 games.

Cory Schneider has been one of the hottest goalies in the league. As of February 21st, he is tied for first with St. Louis Blues net minder Brian Elliot, for Goals Against Average (GAA), with 2.06. He is 5th in the league for Save Percentage (SV%), with .928. Cory is also tied for 4th in the league with Shutouts with 4. If he keeps on doing his job, he can definitely be a Vezina Trophy candidate.

If New Jersey keeps on playing with there success, they can find themselves in a Wild Card spot, and possibly even a Divisional Playoff spot.

The next Great One?

Everyone has been wondering,”Who will be the next Wayne Gretzky?”, and I believe everyone’s questions will be answered within the next year or so. And the player I am talking about is 18 year old Canadian Native Connor McDavid. He has had unbelievable stats in the OHL with the Erie Otters for the past 3 years.

In his first season as an Otter (2012-2013) he played 63 games and had a total of 66 points (25 Goals and 41 Assists). That year, Connor was awarded the Rookie of the Year award.

In his next season (2013-2014) he played 56 games and an outstanding 99 points (28 Goals and 71 Assists)! Connor was awarded the William Hanley Trophy (OHL most Sportsmanlike player), the Bobby Smith Trophy (OHL Scholastic Player of the Year), and was named the CHL Scholastic Player of the Year.

The next season (2014-2015), McDavid’s season was shortened with a broken hand, but still managed to play 47 games, and an incredible 120 points (44 Goals and 76 Assists)! He was awarded again with the Bobby Smith award, and the Red Tilson Trophy (Most Outstanding Player). He was also named the CHL’s Top Prospect Award, and the CHL’s Best Player Award.

At this time, every hockey fan knew whoever team had the first pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, they would pick Connor McDavid. In June of 2015, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers selected McDavid 1st Overall. The question is: With his incredible success in the OHL, will 18 year old Connor McDavid be the next Great One?

New Jersey Devils Future

The last three seasons for the New Jersey Devils have been a disaster. They have finished 20th or below in the League Standings. They have lost key players like Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. They have fired their head coach Peter DeBoer in December 2014 for not leading the team to W’s and playoff contention. Even though the franchise has been going through rough times, their future is getting brighter and brighter. They have hired 42 year old head coach John Hynes, and have also drafted center Paval Zacha. Better yet, they have a lot of young developing guys like Eric Gelinas, Damon Severson, Jon Merrill, Keith Kinkaid, and Reid Boucher. With veterans still playing well, like Andy Greene and Travis Zajac, as well as long time Devil Patrick Elias, everyone will fit a specific role for the developing team. My prediction is that the team will make the playoffs for the 2017-18 season, and will go far in the 2019-20 season.