Friday, September 21, 2018

New Jersey Devils 2018-19 season preview





          One of the league's most surprising teams, the Jersey Devils ended off 2017-18 with 97 points, and made the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12, only to fall to the Tampa Lightning in five games. But, big strides were made as Taylor Hall won the first Hart trophy in team history, 23 year old Will Butcher had a great rookie year, as did 19 year olds Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt. Before we look at their team, here's some fast facts for the New Jersey Devils.

Head Coach: John Hynes
General Manager: Ray Shero
Arena: Prudential Center
AHL Affiliate: Binghamton Devils
2017-18 record: 44-29-9
2017-18 placement: 5th
Division: Metropolitan
2017-18 goals leader: Taylor Hall (39)
2017-18 assists leader: Taylor Hall (54)
2017-18 points leader: Taylor Hall (93)
2017-18 points leader (defenseman): Will Butcher (44)
Captain: Andy Greene
Assistant Captains: Travis Zajac, Brian Boyle, Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri
2018 first round pick: Ty Smith

Offseason additions: Eric Gryba.

Offseason subtractions: Patrick Maroon, Michael Grabner, John Moore, Brian Gibbons and Jimmy Hayes.

Forwards: Taylor Hall is one of hockey's best players. Nico Hischier is still growing. Kyle Palmieri can score 30 goals. They need Pavel Zacha to be top-6 center. He's a 3rd liner at best. Brian Boyle and Travis Zajac need to stay healthy. They have a decent winger core with Marcus Johansson, Jesper Bratt and Miles Wood. Michael McLeod and Joey Anderson will get some experience.

Forward lines:

Taylor Hall - Nico Hischier - Kyle Palmieri
Marcus Johansson - Travis Zajac - Jesper Bratt
Miles Wood - Pavel Zacha - Stefan Noesen
Blake Coleman - Brian Boyle - Drew Stafford
Other: Blake Speers

Defenseman: they have a decent, young core led by Sami Vatanen, Will Butcher and Damon Severson. It's a big year for Mirco Mueller and Steven Santini. They could be gone by 2019-20.

Defensive pairs:

Andy Greene - Sami Vatanen
Will Butcher - Damon Severson
Mirco Mueller - Steven Santini
Other: Ben Lovejoy, Eric Gryba

Goalies: Cory Schneider is never healthy. That's why they need two backups, Keith Kinkaid and Eddie Lack. The organization trusts Kinkaid, who won a career high 26 games in 2017-18.

Goalie alignment:

Cory Schneider
Keith Kinkaid
Eddie Lack


 Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Taylor Hall
Kyle Palmieri
Will Butcher
Nico Hischier
Marcus Johansson

Playoffs: No
Division: 5th

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