Prior to the season, most New Jersey Devils fans were looking forward to what this season had to offer. Even if this wasn’t a playoff team, they would have to be more interesting than teams of previous years, right? Well, about that, the Devils ruined any hope we had for the season pretty early on. Both Miles Wood and Mackenzie Blackwood got hurt in the preseason. Jack Hughes got hurt in game number two. The team started to fall apart at the seams, and there was no looking back.
Prior to the season, we tried to make predictions on some statistical categories, and some came out pretty good! Others, I look like an idiot. What else is new. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and see how I did on my preseason predictions.
1. Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier Hit 60 Points
This one went pretty well! Obviously, we wouldn’t have predicted that Jack Hughes hit this threshold if we knew he was only going to play 49 games, but he came pretty close either way. Hughes was four points away from 60 points, and Nico Hischier hit 60 points right on the nose. We predicted that full seasons from Pavel Zacha and Jesper Bratt would help Hischier reach new heights. Well, we were half right there.
2. Mackenzie Blackwood .920+ save percentage
Woof, this one went so bad. The Devils got nothing from the goaltending position, even when Blackwood was in net. Blackwood suffered a heel injury in the preseason, and he was never the same. The Devils tried giving him a few weeks to recover at the beginning of the season, but then they leaned on him too much when Jonathan Bernier went down. Blackwood ended his season with a .892 save percentage, a full 28 percentage points off this prediction.
3. Tomas Tatar easily gets to 20 goals
Am I bad at this? It’s very possible I’m bad at making predictions, but it likely won’t stop us This prediction should be embarrassing, but that part comes later. To be honest, Tomas Tatar at least scored 15 goals. It’s not like he was that far from 20. Tatar had some decent stretches, but he was too inconsistent for his own good.
4. Devils score north of 3.0 goals per game
Hey! Maybe we aren’t so bad at this! The Devils did indeed score more than three goals per game, even if it was by the skin of their teeth. They broke the threshold. by literal percentage points. If they scored one less goal, they are probably given the 2.9 goals per game threshold. The Devils got big seasons from Hischier, Hughes, Bratt, Yegor Sharangovich, and Dawson Mercer to help the offense hit new heights. Offense as a whole went nuts this season, so the Devils still only ranked 19th in goals per game. Last season, they would have ranked 13th with the same goals per game stat.
5. Pavel Zacha leads in goals again
Alright, fine. I am definitely not good at this.