New Jersey Devils Mid-Season Report Card

Dec 26, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; New Jersey Devils defensemen Andy Greene (6) looks on before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; New Jersey Devils defensemen Andy Greene (6) looks on before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Jersey Devils finished the first half of the 2015-16 season at 20-16-5 with 45 points and sole possession of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

In the second half the Devils will look to string together enough victories to secure themselves a playoff bid for the first time in three seasons, but it certainly won’t be an easy task.

After suffering a number of injuries, the Devils find themselves at 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and in a bit of an offensive rut. Is there cause for concern?


Were the Devils pretenders rather than contenders in the first half of the season?

Time will certainly tell.

But for now, let’s take a closer look at the Devils midseason grades.

Devils Management

Ray Shero (A)

Though it’s kind of tough giving a grade to a general manager prior to the annual NHL Trade Deadline, Ray Shero has done a tremendous job since taking over for Uncle Lou. Some of his key acquisitions include trading for Kyle Palmieri at the 2015 NHL Draft, signing defenseman John Moore and of course, bringing in rookie head coach John Hynes. In addition, Shero shed aging veterans like Dainus Zubrus and created close to $9.5 million in cap space during the process. It’s safe to say the Devils rebuild has gone better than expected, and I’m excited to see what Ray Shero does moving forward.

Scott Fitzgerald (A-)

The Albany Devils have quietly been one of the best teams in the AHL to date with an overall record of 20-8-3 (43 points), which puts them in second place of the AHL North behind the Toronto Marlies. In addition, Mike Sislo and Yann Danis will represent the Albany Devils in the AHL All Star Classic. Positive results lead to positive grades, so hopefully Fitzgerald can keep the farm moving in the right direction. 

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils /

New Jersey Devils

Devils Coaches

John Hynes (A)

When John Hynes was first brought in to lead the New Jersey Devils as the youngest coach in the NHL I wasn’t so sure he was the right man for the job. However, as time passed it was evident that he was a perfect fit. After coaching the Devils into a playoff spot at the mid-way point of the season, it’s clear he knows what he’s doing, so hopefully he can continue to get maximum effort from his players throughout the second half of the season.

Geoff Ward, Alan Nasreddine and Chris Terreri (B +)

With the 13th best Power Play percentage in the NHL (19.3 %) and the seventh best penalty kill (82.9%), the Devils assistant coaches are certainly getting the job done when it comes to special teams. However, the Devils need to improve their goals for per game (2.24) which is the third worst in the NHL and goals against per game (2.27) which is the fourth worse in the NHL. They may not have the strongest personnel and they might be rebuilding, but these numbers certainly need improvement. Perhaps it’s time to put a new system in place?

Devils Forwards

Mike Cammalleri (A)

He was brought in to score goals, and that’s exactly what he continues to do. In 38 games played Cammalleri is the 19th best scorer in the NHL with 35 points (14 G, 21 A).

Kyle Palmieri (A+)

New Jersey’s golden boy may have finally found his niche. After taking a back seat to the talented core in Anaheim, Palmieri was traded to the Devils and has been on an absolute tear. With an increase in playing time, Palmieri has already recorded career highs in goals (17) and shooting percentage (16.5%). His next career point will tie his season record of 31 points and we only just passed the mid-way point of the season. With regular playing time Palmieri is on pace for a 60 point season.

More from Devils News

Lee Stempniak (B+)

Though I’m still convinced the Devils are one of the few teams that Lee Stempniak can actually log top-six minutes with, there’s no arguing his production. After a hot start to the season, Stempniak has 29 points (9 G, 20 A) while playing in all 41 of the Devils first half games. It’ll be interesting to see if he can match his numbers in the second half.

Adam Henrique (A)

Rique-o is certainly exceeding expectations. In 39 games Henrique has 28 points (14 G, 14 A) while playing alongside Mike Cammalleri on the top line.

Travis Zajac (B+)

Despite being the subject of trade rumors prior to the start of the season, Zajac has played relatively well thus far. His 53.4 % face-off percentage is tops on the Devils and his +7 rating is second best on the team to Cammalleri.

Jacob Josefson (C-)

It’s time for the Devils to move on from the Josefson experiment. 2015 was supposed to be his last chance to prove he can center one of the teams top two lines, but he’ done anything but that. In 36 games played he has just one goal and seven assists along with a -11 rating. These aren’t numbers you can expect out of a top six center.

Jordin Tootoo (F)

Sure he’s a spark plug and continues to hit everything that moves, but there’s no excuse for a -18 rating. Tootoo must improve the defensive side of the game or he’ll be spending a lot of time in the press box during the second half.

Sergey Kalinin (B-)

Kalinin was certainly an interesting international free-agent signing from the start, but his numbers could certainly be better. He’s been juggled between right wing and center, but his 44.1 % face-off percentage and -9 rating doesn’t impress me.

Bobby Farnham (B)

Bobby ‘Wild Thing’ Farnham has been a fan favorite since debuting with the Devils and scoring in his first NHL game. As long as he continues to grind and remain a plus on the Devils fourth line he should continue to remain in the lineup. Let’s just hope he spends less time diving and more time driving the net for the Devils moving forward.

Patrik Elias (B-)

In just 13 games, the Devils veteran Patrik Elias has recorded just 5 points (1 G, 4 A). Y0u can’t contribute if you don’t stay in the lineup, so hopefully Elias can shake the knee injury and get back to his regular self when he’s activated off the IR.

Stephen Gionta (B-)

He’s the little engine that could, but at -7 Stephen Gionta needs to clean up his game on the defensive end of the puck or he can join Tootoo in the press box.

Jiri Tlusty (C-)

He was a low risk signing from the start, and in 29 games played, Tlusty has just four points (2 G, 2 A). I’m not going to lie, I expected more out of Tlusty. Hopefully he can turn things around in the second half.

Tyler Kennedy (C)

I’m still convinced that Kennedy is only with the Devils because he played in Pittsburgh for Ray Shero, but with just three assist and a -4 rating in 18 games what’s the point of really keeping him around? I don’t think he finishes the season in Jersey, but time will tell.

Tuomo Ruutu (D-)

Why did Lou Lamoriello ever trade for this guy? Why?

Hopefully Shero can flip him at the deadline for a seventh round draft pick… or maybe a bag of pucks.

Stefan Matteau (C+)

He’s just not ready yet, but will he ever be?

Devils Defense

Damon Severson (B-)

Severson might be in a little bit of a sophomore slump, but his 11 points (1 G, 10 A) is the most of any Devils defenseman. He needs to get his shooting percentage (1.60) way up if he wants to be the same offensive threat he was for the Devils in his rookie season.

John Moore (B+)

John Moore might arguably be the best 3 v. 3 weapon for the Devils in overtime. He currently has 10 points (3 G, 7A), two of which are overtime game-winning-goals, but his -3 rating is a little concerning. If he continues to impress he might be an extension candidate at the end of the season.

David Schlemko (B-)

Though he was brought in solely based off analytics, his 9 points (4 G, 5 A) in the first half of the season is a pleasant surprise. I would like to see him get his -5 rating improved in the second half for the Devils, especially because he’s supposed to be a shutdown defenseman.

Andy Greene (B+)

The captain has recorded three goals and four assists through the teams first 41 games and just recently played in his 600th career NHL game. He continues to be a key contributor on the blue line and hopefully that continues through the second half.

Adam Larsson (A-)

At +6, Larsson has undoubtedly been the most sound defenseman for the Devils thus far. I think the Devils would like to see him get more involved on the offensive side of the rush moving forward, but all-in-all Larsson is finally developing into the top defenseman the Devils always knew he could be.

Eric Gelinas (C+)

Gelinas continues to bounce in and out of the Devils lineup because he needs to be more responsible in the D-zone. In 23 games played, Gelinas has a -4 rating and -10 turnover differential. He simply can’t be trusted unless he turns things around.

Jon Merrill (C+)

So maybe Merrill isn’t the shutdown defenseman the Devils thought he would be.

Devils Goalies 

Cory Schneider (A+)

Schneider is undoubtedly the backbone of the New Jersey Devils and he was finally recognized by the NHL when he was selected to the 2015-16 NHL All Star Game. His 2.06 GAA is tied for second best amongst goalies with over 30 starts and his .927 save percentage is the the third best in the NHL behind Braden Holtby and Roberto Luongo.

Keith Kinkaid (C-)

Kinkaid hasn’t really answered the bell during off nights for Schneider. In seven games started he’s posted a losing record of 3-4 with a .905 save percentage.