It seems most New Jersey Devils fans have convinced themselves that if the team had league-average goaltending or league-average coaching, they would’ve had a lot more wins, and that’s fair. According to JFresh, the seven Devils goaltenders surrendered 46 more goals than expected.
As for the coaching staff, the team would have been better off with anyone running the powerplay unit other than Mark Recchi. It also would have been helpful to have a head coach who could make in-game adjustments. Instead, coach Ruff can’t even call mid-game timeouts.
Both issues are to blame, but the roster itself still isn’t good enough to compete for the playoffs. It’s close, and with some veteran additions this offseason, we may be approaching the light at the end of the tunnel for this decade-long rebuild.
“The team right now isn’t the team we’re going to be successful with,” Hughes said. “We’re building something right now with our pieces.”
This team needs more pieces, and their superstar is making quite the plea for more help. Getting more pieces means there are guys who’re going to be the odd men out who will likely be traded, released, or healthy scratched next season. It all starts with the forwards, where there seems to be a logjam of players who feel similar in production.