Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New Jersey Devils are finally back after taking a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We finally have something to talk about as training camp is underway and real games are about to begin. Actually, there’s a lot to talk about. Corey Crawford abruptly retires after signing a two-year contract, Nico Hischier is still dealing with a lower-body injury and will miss real hockey games, and Jesper Bratt finally signed a two-year deal but will miss games as well. So really, we haven’t missed a beat and there is seemingly never a dull moment for the Devils.
With all the craziness and uncertainty, we finally have New Jersey Devils hockey back, and we should not take that for granted. Let’s sit back, and enjoy the hockey season. Here is what to expect for the 2021 New Jersey Devils.
The Devils Will Be Competitive But Ultimately Not Win A Lot of Games
If last year was any indication, less expectations are better expectations. Last offseason, the Devils stole the headlines by selecting number-one overall pick Jack Hughes, trading for former Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban and also reigning KHL MVP Nikita Gusev. The fan base ultimately was excited and which led to misleading expectations.
This offseason the Devils did not necessarily weaponize their cap space and plethora of draft picks like many thought that they would. Many people were hoping and expecting them to trade for defensemen Vince Dunn or Mikhail Sergachev, or a forward like Kevin Labanc.
Instead, the Devils signed Corey Crawford, which would have given them an excellent goaltending tandem, sent Joey Anderson for Andreas Johnsson, traded for reliable but oft-injured defenseman Ryan Murray, signed depth defenseman Dmitry Kulilov and later signed a familiar face in Sami Vatanen to a one-year contract.
The Devils are relying on a lot of young players which I think is the right move. It is Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Jesper Boqvist and Ty Smith’s team, on top of the plethora of young talent the team has in the pipeline.
That being the case, there are going to be a lot of growing pains. Which is fine. As long the team is headed in the right direction, winning will happen sooner rather than later. The team will be fun to watch, but not without some hiccups along the way. Enjoy the ride.