New Jersey Devils Midseason Progress Report

New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Jersey Devils reached the halfway point of their 2022-2023 campaign with a win against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Devils possess a 26-12-3 record, good for 55 points and 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, and 6th overall in the league standings.  At the halfway point one year ago, the Devils sat 25 points out of first place. Today, they are just two points behind Carolina for the Metropolitan Division lead and are on pace for 110 points. This New Jersey Devils team has arrived and is here to stay.

It’s safe to say this Devils team is exceeding expectations. We all knew that this team was nearing the end of the rebuild, inching closer to a playoff spot, but not many could have predicted the first half that the Devils have had this season. There have been special moments, highs and lows, and the emergence of our young superstars. It’s an exciting time to be a Devils fan. Here is our first-half report card for roster players as well as the team as a whole.

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) celebrates with center Jack Hughes (86): Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports /

Players Exceeding Expectations

Jack Hughes: How could Jack Hughes not be first on the list? The emergence of Hughes as a superstar has been something special. The youngster exceeded all expectations with a whopping 49 points in 41 games. His next goal will be a new single-season career high. Hughes has improved his two-way game and was recently named the Devils representative for the 2023 All-Star Game.

Nico Hischier: The Devils captain has grown into this team’s fearless leader right before our eyes. Hischier has tallied 40 points in 40 games and is currently riding an eight-game point streak. He has been great at both ends of the rink, in the faceoff dot, and has ticked up his offensive potential, as he is currently on an 80-point pace. Hischier has grown into the first-line center the organization desperately needed to build its team around. Hischier has created an opportunity to be voted into the All-Star Game alongside Jack Hughes.

Dougie Hamilton: The health of the Devils’ leader on the backend was critical to the team’s success this year. The 29-year-old veteran defenseman has played a big role in the first-half success of this team. Hamilton has 35 points in 41 games, good for an 82-game pace of 70 points, an incredible number for a defenseman. Hamilton will also have an opportunity to attend the 2023 All-Star Game via fan vote.

Jesper Bratt: In his 6th year with New Jersey, the 24-year-old Bratt has begun to come into his own like Hughes and Hischier. Participating in all 41 games so far, Bratt has 40 points and is on pace for a career-high 80 points this season. Bratt has been a subject to criticism this year by some Devils fans, but the Swede has shown his undeniable offensive potential when he gets going. He has seven points in his last six games and, like the aforementioned three, has put himself in position as a 2023 All-Star Game candidate.

Vitek Vanecek: The 27-year-old backstop has been a critical reason for the success of the Devils to this point. In his first season as a Devil, Vanecek wields a 16-5-2 record with a 2.37 goals-against-average and a .913 save percentage in 27 games. Vanecek has been everything the Devils could have wished for and more. He has taken the Devils’ net by storm and has become the most reliable option night in and night out. The Czechia native appears as the 5th and final realistic All-Star option for the Devils.