New Jersey Devils: Acquiring Taylor Hall expectations were set a bit higher for the Devils this season. After a strong start, the Devils came down to earth, forcing them to be one of the many teams to miss the playoffs this season.
EXPECTATIONS AT BEGINNING OF SEASON?
New Jersey Devils have been eliminated from the playoffs for quite some time now. Heading into this season expectations seemed to a bit higher after acquiring Taylor Hall. Unfortunately New Jersey’s season did not pan out too well, currently last in the Metropolitan division with 68 points through 78 games played. At spots, this Devils team looked to be a potential playoff contender, but with Taylor Hall battling injuries and poor defensive play have left the Devils out of playoff contention this season.
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BIGGEST STRENGTH: Relentless play; Top guns production
No matter the score, the Devils always seem to be a team that gives some top teams in the league a hard time. The Devils have lost nearly half their games in one-goal games, which is a positive sign. Although they may not be the best team the Devils are an extremely gritty team that cannot be overlooked by any team. Whilst the Devils scored only 172 goals this season this far, their top guns have done a fair job producing this season. Taylor Hall has missed
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
10 games this season, but in his 68 games played, Hall tallied 58 points. Kyle Palmieri reached the 25 goal mark and tallied 50 points, Travis Zajac has been a solid piece to this roster with 48 points and although Henrique had a bit of down year, he still registered 20 goals and 39 points which are quite poor for the 27-year-old forward, but his numbers have not declined drastically.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Defense
The Devils have allowed 226 goals against this season making them the 7th most scored against this season thus far. They’ve had the 10th worst penalty kill among NHL teams. Have allowed the 9th most shots against per game(31.5). Obviously, defense is an issue for the Devils, the Devils did not have one defenseman post a positive or even +/- this season. The list can go on, but its evident defense is not a strong suit for New Jersey and they know it.
OUTLOOK FOR THE OFFSEASON: Acquire a #1 Defensemen
The Devils need to consider the importance of acquiring a #1 defensemen this season, with Kevin Shattenkirk being rumored at the trade deadline the Devils were one of the teams in the mix for him. If it’s not Shattenkirk then it needs to be someone else. Along with that being said the Devils also need to strengthen their bottom six forwards, with some bottom six production the Devils could be a more well-rounded team, also taking some of the load off their top guns.