The New Jersey Devils season is over and it’s time to look back and get some closure.
The New Jersey Devils season is officially over now that the NHL and the player’s association agreed to a 24-team tournament to get into the playoffs. The Devils are one of seven teams that aren’t going to continue their season after a months-long layoff. This will put the team on ice for a possible 10+ months until next season. It’s tough to think about, but it’s even worse without closure for this season. So, like most eulogies, we attempt to put to rest the worst Devils season of all time.
Here lies the tenure of Ray Shero. He of the one-for-one trade that made Devils fans believe again, Shero made some of the shrewdest moves of all time. He spent less than five years trying to replace the greatest general manager we’ve ever seen in Lou Lamoriello. There were times of absolute celebration, but at the end we were left looking as lost as when Shero arrived. His undoing was always a lack of answers for the most obvious questions.
Here lies the tenure of head coach John Hynes. He of one playoff race, Hynes tenure has some in the national spotlight questioning the Devils moves, but many in the analytical world admitted the Devils needed a change. Hynes was a man known for random healthy scratches and looking towards grit and good guys in the locker room. His performance in 2018 was magical, but like most magic the secrets came out and he was struck down from his position of strength. He was given a second life in Nashville, and we will continue to root for him.
Here lies the hope behind Cory Schneider. Coming into the season, a fanbase in a tizzy was quoting six month’s worth of stats. The preseason, the World Championships, and the end of a terrible 2018-19 season were not enough to save his career. Our hope has been lashed, and our belief in our goal protector is just about gone.
Here lies the Devils career of Taylor Hall. He of the only Hart Trophy in New Jersey Devils history, Hall was not willing to accept a commitment in the Garden State. Therefore, he had been sent away to the warm climates of Arizona. The return for the services of Hall did not bring the future-defining haul we were hoping for. There are some pieces that bring some hope, but not the future that the trades of our dreams brought back.
Here lies the Calder Trophy push for Mackenzie Blackwood. On a normal year, he would be a legitimate candidate for the rookie of the year. Instead, he goes up against two of the best rookie defensive seasons we’ve ever seen. Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes are fighting for the Calder Trophy, and everyone else if far behind. Maybe Blackwood could have closed the gap in the last 12 games, but now we’ll never know.
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Here lies the captaincy Andy Greene. He of 14 seasons wearing the Devils crest, Greene was sent nearby as a member of the New York Islanders. His force and might was not what it once was, but he still was the lockerroom leader. Now, he’s doing that for a bunch of Islanders.
Here lies the fan fervor behind every Blake Coleman goal. He of the most exciting moments of the last two seasons, Coleman continued to be a bright spot in a dark time. We will root for him as he goes for Lord Stanley this summer.
Here lies the rookie season of one Jack Hughes. He of the number-one pick, the lack of production kept us wanting more. Every time we saw a light to reach for, we were turned down. We thought he was going to be a scorer from day one, but he ended up just being a learning process.
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And finally, here lies Devils fans hoping the dark days of this franchise are over. After clearing the deck at the NHL Trade Deadline, we’ve been forced to watch another season of disappointment. Now, it’s over without the hope the end of the season usually brings. Not only that, but we now have to wait until possibly 2021 until we get another chance. Bullocks.