Important Takeaways From The New Jersey Devils Season So Far


With the 2014-2015 NHL season not turning out the way many had envisioned for the New Jersey Devils, there has been a lot of frustration that has been on the minds of both the players and fans. However, I firmly believe that the Devils wash of a season is not a sign of things to come in seasons to come and many of the Devils players have publicly stated that the organization will turn it around after this year.

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One player who recently voiced his opinion on the Devils future is starting goaltender

Cory Schneider

. In an

interview with Tom Gulitti

via the Fire & Ice Blog Schneider said, ““It’s just been, I think, a learning year for some of us,” he said. “For me, stepping into a new role, for some of the guys who’ve been here, maybe it’s just something different that we’ve all had to endure together.” Schneider raises a good point in that this year may have been more of a learning year for some Devils players, but I also feel like this has been a learning year for many in the fan-base.

It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn

“It wasn’t all glory days before they won that first Cup in 1995 and you’ve got to maybe go through a year or two like this or have stretches where you have to do some soul-searching and figure out what it’s going to take to get to that next level. ” – Cory Schneider

In a recent post I wrote trying to get the fan-base’s input on their feelings towards

Lou Lamoriello and his job security

I focused on the Devils long-term success in defense of Lou and the struggles over the last few years.

Cory Schneider

‘s quote on the right is exactly what I was saying in the

Lou Lamoriello

article and is something I think all Devils fans should keep in mind when evaluating the last couple of seasons. Like the seasons leading up to the Devils 1995 cup run and the string of successful years after, there were some very tough seasons which the organization had to endure. While it doesn’t seem promising right now, just remember how hard it is to remain successful year after year in a league with 29 other teams all trying to win the Stanley Cup, you are bound to have a few poor seasons from time to time.

This Is A Transition, Not A Rebuild

In another article on Tom Gulitti’s Fire & Ice blog, GM Lou Lamoriello had this to say about the Devils future going forward, “It’s a transition, not a rebuild. Rebuild means you’re starting right from the foundation.” Certainly he is not happy with how the last few seasons have turned out, but he is trying to remain positive and focus on making moves to improve the team for the future. Cory Schneider also had this to say about the idea of the potential for a Devils rebuild:

"“I don’t like to use the word rebuild either because it’s a resignation that it’s OK not to succeed for a given amount of time and I don’t think that really works in New Jersey.”"

While this season hasn’t turned out the way any of us had envisioned, I think the message here is clear; the players and management don’t believe a rebuild is necessary, so the fans should accept that also.

A Young Defense With Growing Pains

While the Devils age problems have been well documented on this site and pretty much everywhere, it is important to keep in mind just how young the defense is when evaluating them. Eric Gelinas (23), Seth Helgeson  (24), Damon Severson (20), Jon Merrill (22) and Adam Larsson (22) are all under the age of 25 and have all played a significant amount this season. With this group accounting for a majority of the defensive core, it is easy to understand why the defense has struggled at times this season. Yet even through the struggles, we’ve seen the emergence of Severson and Larsson (finally) which when paired with the potential of Gelinas, Helgeson and Merrill, makes the future look a little brighter for the organization.

While I don’t think anyone is ready to promise a cup run next year or even the year after that, the state of the Devils is not in as bad of shape as many believe it is. Both management and the players know this is not the time to panic and abandon ship, but it’s time to prove to us that they are committed to resolving the issues and turning this back around. Their problems cannot be fixed by dumping everyone of value at the deadline, but Lou can make smart moves to put the organization back on track. Look for the organization to have a productive trade deadline accompanied by a good draft and smart free agent signings in hopes to speed up the “transition” a lot quicker than it is happening now.

Next: Severson, Boucher Named Top 2 Devils Prospects By Hockey's Future