New Jersey Devils: Evaluating A New East Division

Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils are set to play in a new East Division beginning on January 13th.

The New Jersey Devils are one of seven teams whose fanbases haven’t been able to watch their team since March. The seven teams that didn’t make it to the bubble have been without hockey for a while but it is finally back. The National Hockey League is going to begin play of the 2019-20 season on January 13th. We don’t know the exact schedule yet but we do know that the New Jersey Devils are going to compete in the East Division.

This new East Division is very good, to say the least. It is loaded with talent from top to bottom and should be highly competitive. The Devils will compete in this division against the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals. As you can see, there are some very good teams in there.

The Boston Bruins are a team that New Jersey is not used to being a division rival with but they sure know them well. As Eastern Conference foes in most years, the Devils and Bruins have played in some crazy games. The Bruins are probably the best team in the Divison and should absolutely be one of the four playoff teams to come out of it.

The Washington Capitals, however, would probably take offence to that proclamation. They could also be the best team in the division on paper and one that will be in the playoffs as well. Like the Bruins, the Capitals have Stanley Cup pedigree and a roster loaded with elite players. This is a tough matchup for the Devils but there will be valuable experience gained from playing against them.

The Philadelphia Flyers are one good hockey team. They have a lot of great young pieces supplemented by some great veterans to round out a very good lineup. Carter Hart is also the goalie that Flyers fans have been waiting for forever which makes them even more dangerous. He is going to be one of the very best in the league real soon because getting pucks past him now is already borderline impossible.

With the top four teams making it out of each division, that makes it hard to predict who will have the most success. On paper, acknowledging that anything can happen, you have to think that the three previously named teams have the best chance to be in the playoffs. That means you have to predict who you think will be that fourth team.

The Devils, Rangers, and Sabres all have some great talent, but it doesn’t feel like it is going to be their year in 2021. It is fair to assume that the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins have the best chance of taking that fourth playoff spot. The Islanders play an amazing team game, and the Penguins still have so much elite talent at the top of their lineup. It is going to be a fun race to watch for sure.

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For the Devils, they will need to work really hard to have a good year. We will know relatively early how good their chances will be so them starting off hot would be nice to see. Regardless of what happens in the standings this year, developing their young core is the most important thing. These kids have the potential to be really good so hopefully, it is a great year of growth and experience playing in the tough East Division.