The Case for Keeping Pete DeBoer


It has been a tough first 16 games to the Devils 2014-2015 as the team currently stands at 7-7-2. During the season thus far we’ve seen everything from two 4-game losing streaks, to the emergence of young defenseman Damon Severson trying to prove himself at the next level. In a stretch of time that saw the Devils start out by winning three out of four on a four-game road trip to open the season they most recently come crashing back down to Earth with their recent losing streak.

As a result, many fans have been very upset with the team’s performance this season and honestly I don’t blame them. It has been a frustrating last couple of years since the cup run, but this is not a time for panic and rash decisions. This is a team that is relatively the same as last year, should’ve made the playoffs, and has added more pieces that have improved the team. Mike Cammalleri has been an absolute stud so far for the Devils and Martin Havlat have provided good energy for Patrik Elias and his teammates when healthy.

The point I’m trying to make here is that there have been a couple of factors that have contributed to the early season struggles for New Jersey and I firmly believe Peter DeBoer is not the one to blame.

The Injury Bug

Perhaps the one factor that ultimately arises every year is the injury bug. It can last for a few weeks or a few months and is inevitable because this is hockey and it is one of the most physically demanding sports.

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A plethora of injuries to Devils such as

Ryane Clowe

, Mike Cammalleri, Marty Havlat, Adam Henrique, Jon Merrill,

Jordin Tootoo

and (the latest victim)

Bryce Salvador

have served as a major handicap to the Devils. While this is no excuse for some consistently sup-par results, it is a factor to consider when judging the lineup each night and recognizing the lack of depth the Devils have this year.

A Lack of Scoring

Mike Cammalleri was brought in to help increase the Devils scoring this season and for years to come. While it’s safe to say he’s done his job pretty well (10GP, 6G 4A) it’s clear the Devils have a problem scoring goals. Yes, the Devils are typically one of the lowest scoring teams in the league each season due to their style of “Low-Event Hockey” but this year it has become clear that some of the Devils scorers aren’t pulling their own weight. Players such as Patrik Elias (16GP, 1G 6A), Damien Brunner (12GP, 1G 3A), and Ryane Clowe (13GP, 1G 3A) haven’t performed well this year and it is becoming more noticeable by each passing game.

Time may be finally catching up to Patty, as he’s looked lost at times and hasn’t been the offensive threat he was in years past. Yes, Clowe isn’t exactly your prototypical goal scorer, but there’s a reason he is getting paid $4.85 Million a year and he isn’t producing like the Devils had hoped he would. The scoring inconsistencies I feel could also be linked to the absence of a true young superstar in their lineup, but that’s a topic of conversation for another day.

The Penalty Kill Woes

The following stats are by far some of the most surprising stats of the season for New Jersey; the Devils have a league-worst 66.7% penalty-kill this season and have been shorthanded 63 times this year which is the 4th most in the league. The penalty kill (as most fans know) is typically the Devils bread and butter. How the Devils go from being the best PK unit in the league last year to the worst this year is absolutely bewildering and very frustrating. Killing penalties is one thing, but being the most penalized team in the league is inexcusable. The players need to do a better job of making smarter decisions and staying out of the box; otherwise things may get very ugly in New Jersey this season.

While some of the fault may and should fall on Peter DeBoer, I feel this season’s struggles have been directly linked to the players based on the factors listed above. If you feel that Cory Schneider is to blame I highly suggest reading David Berger’s article on, “Why Cory Schneider is the Least of the Devils’ Problems“. As always we’d love to hear your opinion on this, who do you feel is responsible and why? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section below.