New Jersey Devils Youth Doesn’t Equal Success

Mar 4, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Miles Wood (44) battles b86 for the puck during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Miles Wood (44) battles b86 for the puck during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

There’s a stigma around all sports that just by getting younger that you’ll immediately have success, but unfortunately that isn’t how it works. The argument can be made that the New Jersey Devils are actually worse this year than they were last year even with at the outset what seemed like a better roster.

The New Jersey Devils being worse off this year has come from different aspects, mainly starting with the mediocre of play of Cory Schneider, but you could also argue that the defense has been the worst it’s been in years in front of him. The offense really hasn’t been that bad until lately, but that still doesn’t excuse Schneider for allowing as many weak goals as he’s had.

Hits Maybe’s and Misses

Mike Cammalleri has also had a career-worst season, but even without him, the Devils have maybe brought in too much youth into the lineup. Some have been hits, some we’re not sure of yet, and some that we can peg as misses.

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So far the hits are Miles Wood, Steve Santini, and to a degree Pavel Zacha, but the recent concussion set him back slightly where he was playing some fantastic hockey before it.

The jury’s still out on Nick Lappin, Blake Coleman, Stefan Noesen, Joe Blandisi, Jon Merrill, and I would even throw Damon Severson in there with how inconsistent he’s been so far this season.

The misses are more of the older guys, like Jacob Josefson, who it’s time for move on from. Beau Bennett was a very nice idea and I also would have given up a third round pick for him, but his inability to finish is just mind-blowingly bad. He has three goals in 48 games and with the chances and posts if he scores on those he could potentially have between 12-15 goals.

Younger Doesn’t Mean Better

The good news that some of the other players like Sergey Kalinin, Vern Fiddler, P.A. Parenteau, and Kyle Quincey have been moved, which cuts a lot of the fat off so players like Coleman and Lappin could come up to replace them.

However, that doesn’t mean the Devils are a better team because of it. This is the getting your feet wet period for a lot of these guys and with that comes losing and not scoring many goals, which is exactly what we’re seeing.

The issue is with the Devils not being able to generate No.1 enough shots, and No.2 by having enough offensive zone time to generate those chances. It also stems from not being able to move cleanly through the middle of the ice, which comes from the young guys not knowing the system fully and from perhaps being a little nervous and just trying to make the safe play.

Tanking Is Okay Now

If the Devils win five-six of their remaining games I’ll be surprised as at this point I’m fully invested in tanking for that No.3 pick since let’s face it, nobody’s “catching” the Colorado Avalanche and probably Arizona, It’s embarrassing with how terrible mainly the Avalanche are, but the Devils are only one point ahead of the Red Wings and tied with Carolina at 62 points.

Next: Hate on Taylor Hall Is Completely Unwarranted

The upcoming draft is supposed to be a weak one, but you’ll always find some great talent in the first three-four picks so if the Devils can grab a nice offensive talent while gearing up a little in the offseason it will certainly help them win in the future.

Just because we have Taylor Hall doesn’t mean the Devils are going to be like the Edmonton Oilers for the next five years so no need to worry too much.