The New Jersey Devils have players with an outside shot to win awards.
A lot of the hope surrounding the New Jersey Devils 2021 season went out the door when Corey Crawford announced his retirement last weekend. Now, it’s looking like the Devils are staring down another season without much to play for except a good trade deadline haul and an even better draft pick. However, crazier things have happened.
If the Devils are even able to get into contention, a lot of members of the organization need to have career seasons. That could lead to awards chatter throughout the year. There will be talk of “stepping up” and the word “adversity” that voters love to bring up. The Devils are facing a bigger hole this season than they have ever felt going into a season. Last year, there was hope around Nikita Gusev, P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, and Jack Hughes helping to carry this team. The season before, Cory Schneider would finally get right after surgery and Taylor Hall was coming off an MVP season. There’s nothing like that to hang your hat on this year. Maybe that works better for this team.
The Devils have fallen well below expectations after blowing them out of the water three seasons ago. Maybe with no expectations, they can pull off miracles on a nightly basis. If that happens, expect a lot of this team to be in the discussion for just about every award imaginable.
To be clear, just about every one of these is a long shot, but they definitely aren’t impossible. The Devils could be a good team this season if literally everything goes right. Just about everything went wrong in training camp, so hopefully, the antithesis of this will happen during the season.