The latest from our PROSPECTS
The phrases “Fast, Attacking, Supportive” and “relentless”, introduced to the New Jersey Devils organization and fanbase by Ray Shero and John Hynes were far more than marketing phrases to help sell tickets. On the surface, they may seem like broad adjectives to help ease the transition from one General Manager to the next (especially when replacing one of the all-time greats like Lou Lamoriello), but these words gave an intimate and very blatant look in the direction the team and organization would head in.
This post will not only act as an introduction to each of the players (as if they’ve never been discussed before), but will also include elements of their development for prospects taken before the most recent NHL Draft.
The latest in ANALYSIS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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