The New Jersey Devils season couldn’t be as bad as it was last year. It was never going to happen. The Devils put the expectations through the roof after taking Jack Hughes first overall, trading for P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev, and then signing Wayne Simmonds to round out a returning former MVP in Taylor Hall. The team was stacked with talent, and it was finally time for the team to compete for the playoffs on a regular basis. We all know what happened next.
The Devils fell apart from the second the season started. (Well, it’s probably more appropriate to say 39:49 after the season started.)
This season was supposed to be different, mostly because the expectations are different. This is mostly a young team with some veteran pieces. Most of those veteran pieces, outside of Subban, are in the last year of their contract. It sounded like the Devils were going to have some very good assets going into the trade deadline, and the team would be able to feature some young talent. It was just another part of the rebuild.
The New Jersey Devils season seems to be off the rails earlier than we hoped.
Then, the team started 6-3-2. They beat the Boston Bruins twice and took five out of a possible six points. The Rangers couldn’t touch this Devils team, and they had a lot of games against the Sabres ahead of them. Everything was clicking, and the team came off the COVID pause ready to win.
Something terrible happened. What it is, nobody seems to know. However, this team cannot win. In fact, they can’t even stay in games.
The worst part of this season is the Devils are losing in a different way every night. The hope was at least they would get elite goaltending to keep them in games, but as of late, they aren’t even getting that. The recent 1-7-0 record is absolutely not Mackenzie Blackwood‘s fault, but he hasn’t put the team on his back and willed them to win like we hoped he could.
Thursday’s 6-1 loss to the Rangers feels like one of the worst losses in a long time. Maybe that’s because the Devils didn’t play for 10 months and last season feels too far away, but Thursday stung. It’s hard to get back up for another Rangers game on Saturday when the team just blew the doors off this team.
The Devils’ leadership team got together this week to try and figure out what can be done to turn this around. That somehow led to the team coming out and playing worse. It started off great, and the Devils were skating circles around the Rangers in the first period. Then, the Rangers tied it in the second. Right after that, Chris Kreider scored his second goal of the game to put the Rangers in front. He ended up with a hat trick, the Devils couldn’t stop a soul, Blackwood was pulled, and six goals ended up going up on the scoreboard. This was all for the few fans who came in attendance.
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It’s hard to blame Devils’ fans for being frustrated. They aren’t asking for a lot, but these nights after a 1-7-0 stretch and a tougher schedule in front of them makes it hard to swallow. The future is bright, sure, but a bright future can turn into a mediocre present pretty quickly if Devils’ management can’t right the ship.
This doesn’t even mention the fact that the team confirmed that Nico Hischier was going to miss multiple weeks with a sinus fracture and concussion protocol. Thursday was a bad day.