Metropolitan Division 2014-15 Preview: New Jersey Devils
COACH: Peter DeBoer
2013-14 RECORD: 35-29-18, 88 points (sixth in Metropolitan, missed playoffs)
VITAL SIGNS: 2.4 goals per game (27th), 2.4 goals-against per game (6th); 19.5 power play pct. (9th); 86.4 penalty kill pct. (1st); shootout record: 0-13 (30th)
NOTABLE ARRIVALS: F Mike Cammalleri, F Martin Havlat, G Scott Clemmensen
NOTABLE DEPARTURES: D Anton Volchenkov, D Mark Fayne
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
OUTLOOK: The Devils netted a paltry 2.4 goals per game in 2013-14, a stat that coach Peter DeBoer hopes veteran wings Mike Cammalleri and Martin Havlat will help remedy as New Jersey tries to reach the playoffs for the first time in three years. But Havlat hasn’t played 50 games in a season since 2010-11, and though he's a reliable presence, Cammalleri might not be worth his $25 million price tag. Good thing the seemingly ageless Jaromir Jagr will be there to provide a spark on offense again. He, Cammalleri and Travis Zajac should give New Jersey a top line that can go out and produce on any given night. Now that Martin Brodeur is gone maybe Cory Schneider can turn his full concentration to stopping shots. A stalwart defensive unit led by captain Bryce Salvador should boost Schneider’s chances at continuing his solid form (1.97 GAA, .921 save percentage last season). You can’t win games without scoring, though, and the defensively-minded Devils might find it hard to keep up with their most high-powered divisional foes.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jaromir Jagr
The emphasis is on “watch.” You probably won’t have many more chances to see Jagr in all of his butt-out, puck-protecting glory, and even though he’s 42 those hands remain as smooth as ever. Repeating last year’s 67-point performance might be tough, but it's not impossible.
PREDICTION: 83 points (fifth in Metropolitan)