Devils in the Details

Analysis

The Slide

New Jersey Devils fans aren't happy, and it's understandable why that's the case. 

It seems like only a week ago the New Jersey Devils had a nine point cushion on their playoff spot, and although the team had identifiable areas of weakness, the play of Taylor Hall was making up for most of them. There has been lots of talk about what exactly is going wrong with this Devils team. At various points goaltending, depth scoring, and defence have each taken focus. 

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Duncan Field
Are We There Yet: progression, possession, and the New Jersey Devils

Looking from then to now, it's incredible to see that what were once seen as likely buzzwords have started to materialize on the ice. The team is fast, the team is clearly aggressive and attacking, and sometimes even supportive.  This is the most fun I have had watching Devils hockey since Henrique, Brodeur, Kovalchuk, and Salvador brought the team to the finals over five years ago. 

There is only one problem - I'm not sure we're quite there yet.

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Duncan Field
The Devils at 35

The good news is that many core players are locked up for the foreseeable future on relatively friendly deals. While players like Henrique and Palmieri have been quiet this season, there is cause for hope that they will return to form with the continual introduction of young talent that the organization has been accruing through the draft. Zacha is developing slowly in the NHL, and players such as Blandisi, Quenneville, Santini, McLeod, Bastian, and Gignac are waiting to prove themselves.

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AnalysisDuncan Field
Men of a Certain Age

GM Ray Shero's moves have almost exclusively targeted players in their mid-20s, yet to reach their UFA eligible years. By identifying these moves, and re-signings, we can begin to understand the architecture of Shero's New Jersey Devils, the prospective core of the team, and a preliminary window for contention.

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Duncan Field
The 2015/16 New Jersey Devils: By The Numbers

By examining the underlying numbers produced by the team, we can begin to understand why the Devils fell short of playoff position, identify areas of both strength and weakness, and begin to understand the strategy behind the team's moves so far in the NHL entry draft, re-signing restricted free agents and in free agency itself.

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AnalysisDuncan Field