The New Jersey Devils have tried to address every need so far this offseason.
The New Jersey Devils have been one of the more busy teams since the abrupt pause and eventual end to their 2019-20 season. Before the return to play that they weren’t invited to, they made some significant moves to their coaching staff and management group. They removed the interim tag from general manager Tom Fitzgerald and hired Lindy Ruff to be their head coach. Each one of those decisions came with mixed reviews but at least we have answers.
Later on, they hired Mark Recchi to be an assistant coach. He is going to be there to help them with the power play which is an area that they haven’t been great in over the past couple of years. The hope is that all of these coaching decisions can help them score some more goals.
They needed to address some holes in the lineup and so far they have done a good job attempting to do that. For one, they need some sniping power in the organization. They drafted Alex Holtz in the first round of the draft and he is the definition of a pure goal scorer. Most of the young star players on the team have a pass-first mentality so adding someone who can score the puck is awesome.
He won’t be there with the big club right away, however. That is why trading Joey Anderson for Andreas Johnsson in a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs was smart. This addresses some forward depth need for the Devils as Johnsson can play up and down the lineup. He might also be able to help them in special team situations as well so picking him up was nice to see. This is a supremely skilled player who might be able to take his goal-scoring to the next level if given the opportunity.
The Devils also needed some help defending the house. Ryan Murray is a former number two overall pick with the Columbus Blue Jackets. They were trying to shed some cap so they sent Murray to the Devils for a fifth-round pick. Murray never developed his offensive game enough to live up that status of a number two pick but he can certainly defend really well.
When Murray is out there defending well, there still needs to be a goaltender that can make big saves. Mackenzie Blackwood was a borderline elite goalie in 2019-20 and is looking to do more in 2020-21. The problem for the Devils was having a partner for him so they went out and added Corey Crawford. This is going to form one of the best duos in the entire National Hockey League.
The addition of all three of these guys playing wildly different positions is a sign of some good things to come. None of them necessarily move the needle for the Devils on their own but adding all three to this group can make a major difference. It is too early for expectations to get too high because that has hurt us in the past but this could be a fun group. With the development of their current core and the addition of these guys, the Devils might actually improve next year.