2022 Offseason Plan: New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils Season Recap
The New Jersey Devils had a miserable season in 2021-2022, finishing with a measly 63 points, 5th worst in the NHL. A lot of their forward core has potential and are young at this stage of their careers. Their main point getter was Jesper Bratt, with 73. They had some bad injuries, with Wood getting shut down, Siegenthaler getting injured and both goalies getting injured. Oh, and Jack Hughes had an MCL Sprain so there’s that too. What can they do in the offseason, and will they turn it around quickly? Let’s take a look at some possible solutions.
New Jersey’s roster is not the best, but it certainly could be worse. The main issue is that everyone in their main core is so young. Some examples are Jack Hughes at 21, Hischier at 23, along with Bovqvist and Bratt both at 23. They also have Sharangovich, Kuokkanen and Mcleod at 24 years old. It’s not the end of the world, they just have to grow with experience and the success will follow. Also worth noting is defensemen Ty Smith (21) and Reilly Walsh (22), who could be elite down the road.
The main issues this season came at the back end. Defensemen were not a strong suit in terms of offensive production outside of Graves, Severson, and Hamilton. The goalie play was also miserable to watch. Blackwood had a 9-10-4 record, and backup Jon Gillies went 3-10-1. They both had over a 3.30 GAA, which is not ideal when you are trying to win. The team needs right off the bat, you have to get someone reliable in net. Blackwood is solid. Yet, he’s just not getting it done compared to other goalies his age. If you look at all the successful teams in the NHL, most of it starts with a solid goalie between the pipes. Secondly, they need to get rid of some older players in order to free up cap space. Some great candidates would be Jimmy Vesey, who had 15 points in 68 games at 29 years old. Another player would be P.K. Subban, who had 22 points in 77 games at 31 years old. He’s not bad on the analyst side, but doesn’t have that spark that he did with Montreal. Some good players to fill their role could be guys like Josh Manson, who is playing well in CO right now. He can be a solid tool offensively and get some stops defensively. A candidate for a forward could be Filip Forsberg, who may be on the expensive side but take a risk. He finished with 84 points in 69 games, could be a solid fit to go alongside Nico with his passing ability. However, Filip could shoot or pass, finishing with 42 goals and 42 assists this past year.
Money is sitting in the bank for New Jersey, just have to manage it right. The Devils have $25 million in the bank for this offseason, and should spend it on good talent. They have some RFA’s who they could pay such as Jesper Bratt, Jesper Boqvist, Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha. Tom Fitzgerald definitely have to pay the first 2, as they are both solid pieces of the core. Furthermore, they should get some veteran guys in Free Agency. Doing that, it will help them a lot in developing Hughes, Hischier and Bratt.
The NHL Draft
The Devils have a slew of picks in this year’s NHL draft. They got moved from 5th to 2nd in the lottery this year, which is a big win for them as they get another highly talented prospect. They have the 2nd overall pick, a 2nd rounder, a 3rd, 4th, 3 5ths, a 6th and a 7th. Some potential prospects for the 2nd pick (assuming Shane Wright goes #1) could be Juraj Slafkovsky, Logan Cooley or Simon Nemec. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how G Nico Dawes develops, he could be their goalie of the future only at 21 years old.
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