Rumors are swirling that the New Jersey Devils are going to in a stacked division.
The New Jersey Devils are looking at an important season in their development. There will be a lot of young players on the roster, and they need to make sure they get the right mix of confidence-building and ice time. What would really help this development is getting some wins under the team’s belt, something that really threw things off last year when it didn’t happen.
The schedule that’s being proposed doesn’t look like it’s going to work too well in the Devils’ favor. According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the NHL is looking at switching up divisions to make things easier in terms of travel during the pandemic. The Devils division is absolutely brutal.
So basically, the Devils would switch the Pittsburgh Penguins, who they’ve been somewhat successful against in the past, and the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins. The Bruins have had the Devils number for what feels like decades. Even in 2017-18, when the Devils were a playoff team, they lost every game they played against Boston.
Meanwhile, Buffalo has former Devils star Taylor Hall, who will come into the Prudential Center with some extra motivation to prove he’s still a top player in this league. There are major issues with the Sabres still, but they definitely got better this offseason.
So basically, the Devils are the worst team on paper in that division. Buffalo and the New York Rangers are probably right above them. Every other team is one that can legitimately make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Honestly, would anyone be floored if the Rangers or Sabres went on a run? They both have serious question marks, but things can get weird in the NHL.
The Devils look bound for the bottom once again, unfortunately. Maybe they can scrape some wins, but this division is by far the hardest in the NHL. The Devils will also have to play a lot of back to backs and three games in four nights. The schedule is already brutal. Add in the opponents, and the Devils are in bad shape for next season.
It’s unfortunate because the Devils are still a much better team. Corey Crawford can win games by himself as a backup, so he makes a really good tandem with Mackenzie Blackwood. The additions of Andreas Johnsson and Ryan Murray fill major holes. It may not come off in the record, but no matter what happens this season, the Devils are in a much better position moving forward.