New Jersey Devils: Much To Be Excited About Going Into Week Three

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 14: John-Sebastien Dea #10 of the New Jersey Devils is congratulated after scoring the game winning goal against the San Jose Sharks during the game at Prudential Center on October 14, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Sharks 3-2. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 14: John-Sebastien Dea #10 of the New Jersey Devils is congratulated after scoring the game winning goal against the San Jose Sharks during the game at Prudential Center on October 14, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Sharks 3-2. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The young NHL season is close to three weeks old. There are some surprises so far, and there are some things that are going according to plan. The same thing can be said about the New Jersey Devils.

The trip to Europe to begin the season means the New Jersey Devils have played a couple less games than most teams in the league. This fan base likes to panic sometimes, and there is a bit of that happening on social media right now. Devils twitter is NOT happy with the way the last two games have gone, but any one of us would have signed up for a 4-2 start and being second in the Metropolitan Division to begin the year.

It’s not like they lost to any bad teams either. The Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers are fine hockey teams that will likely find themselves in the postseason. The Devils also have some impressive wins to show, defeating perennial Stanley Cup contenders in the Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks.

They’ve dealt with a few injuries to start the year. There are going to be injuries, that is just the nature of hockey. Steven Santini broke his jaw and has been placed on IR. Travis Zajac and Ben Lovejoy both were injured in the game against Colorado and have yet to practice. Jesper Bratt was injured in Sweden and hasn’t played a game yet, and Cory Schneider is still not back from his offseason surgery, but has been activated from injured reserve and made a rehab start for the Devils AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

Once the team is fully healthy, it is exciting to think about what they can do with their speed and having two quality goaltenders. Zajac’s two way game and amazing talent in the faceoff dot is something that was clearly missed against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Santini and Lovejoy both being out at the same time could really test the team’s depth on the back end, which doesn’t appear great, but it is an opportunity for someone to step up. We saw Sami Vatanen play 29 minutes once Santini was out of the game. Will Butcher and Damon Severson will be relied upon to step up, as well as captain Andy Greene.

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There are some positives to look at here as well, besides the overall record of 4-2. Taylor Hall seems to be right back to where he left off last season, which earned him the Hart Memorial Trophy as the MVP of the National Hockey League. He only has the one goal, but he has seven assists for eight points in six games. He scored a point in every game except for the opener in Sweden. That makes for a five-game point streak, but we won’t go there just yet.

Kyle Palmieri is right there with eight points, seven of them coming after Palmieri lights the lamp. The line of Taylor Hall-Nico Hischier-Kyle Palmieri has been one of the best lines in the league, and of course the best on the Devils on most days.

Hischier has one goal and four points and has made some great plays in the defensive zone. Damon Severson’s offensive contribution is also noted, as he has a goal and four assists for five points in six games.

The waiver wire has been a friend to the Devils in recent memory, and none more recent than forward Jean-Sebastien Dea! This young man has come in and been more than what the Devils have asked from him, as he has three goals in limited ice time.

Dea has likely earned himself a spot in the lineup for the immediate future. Ray Shero looks like a genius yet again for this move, days before the season began.

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The Devils have a few days off in a row here to right the ship. They next play Thursday, October 25th at home, and they will surely be tested by one of the best teams in the NHL, as the Nashville Predators visit the Rock, and then a quick matinee vs the Florida Panthers on Saturday.