5 Things That Must Happen For New Jersey Devils To Make Playoffs

The New Jersey Devils skate in warm-ups (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New Jersey Devils skate in warm-ups (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
5 of 5
New Jersey Devils
Vitek Vanecek #41 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

5. Keep opponents to fewer than eight high-danger chances per game

The Devils’ defense looks like the best it’s been in a decade. Dougie Hamilton, Damon Severson, and John Marino make one of the best right sides in the league. On the left side, they have one of the better defensive defensemen in Jonas Siegenthaler, and a really good contributing player in Ryan Graves, and when he gets called back up, Kevin Bahl looked really good in this lineup. The Devils also have Simon Nemec and Brendan Smith as extras to trade spots in the lineup.

There is no arbitrary number to show the strength of a defense, but with a question still in net, the Devils need to keep shots away from the net.

The number eight isn’t the make-or-break number. It’s more of a metaphor. The Devils need to keep pucks away from their goalies. They especially need to keep high-danger chances away from the net. The Devils we’re really good at that last season, and they were still bad at allowing goals. Only four teams allowed fewer high-danger chances than the Devils (who ironically allowed 666 such chances at 5v5 last season). They allowed the seventh-most high-danger goals. They unsurprisingly had the worst high-danger save percentage in the league.

Next. 5 Devils Who Will Make NHL Debut This Season. dark

With this even better defense, things will only get better. The Devils should try to keep the high-danger chances to around that 650 number they had last season. With better goaltending, even slightly, it should lead to more wins.