How New Jersey Devils Went From 2nd Overall To Banner Season

Simon Nemec #5 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images)
Simon Nemec #5 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images) /
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The Anaheim Ducks won the rights to the second-overall pick in the NHL Draft. This was a position the New Jersey Devils are very familiar with, taking Simon Nemec with the second-overall pick last season. The two franchises are looking to build long-term contenders by making multiple high draft picks.

After the New Jersey Devils stockpiled players like Nico Hischier, Jack and Luke Hughes, Alexander Holtz, and Nemec in that range, the New Jersey Devils have all these guys on the playoff roster looking to bring young, skilled, and highly talented juice into the lineup.

The Devils grew with a very high yield in wins, goals forced, and capable goaltending. Adding Vitek Vanecek to bring a veteran presence between the pipes and the 18 games of Swiss netminder Akira Schmid has shown how important drafting and developing players is in this league. Coach Lindy Ruff has helped train this team into a cooperative force. A few coaching staff changes really gave this team a true identity. Ryan McGill, Sergei Brylin, and Andrew Brunette provide quality behind the bench with Ruff.

This season has been a testament to how this New Jersey Devils team has evolved and matured into a more exciting, and very dangerous team going 2nd in the Metropolitan. Having seen how guys like Dawson Mercer, Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier have been able to get help from Timo Meier during the regular season.

Regardless of the playoff outcome, this team has peaked sooner than expected. To be quite fair, this team was projected to either hit another draft lottery or win a wild card spot. Yours truly said to upgrade the New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points and at highest at 3rd.

Now we have a huge craze going around Newark and all of New Jersey with fans psyching each other up.

It has been a banner year, and this upcoming offseason, the Devils will be looking to move on from certain players in free agency. The draft will help them eventually replace them. Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt will be paid, and guys like Michael McLeod will likely be extended, but others won’t be. That’s something we’ll tackle in a future article.

Next. Akira Schmid On Path To Success. dark

Everyone from the Devils veterans, its youth, and even the rookies are gonna age properly and become key parts in building a Stanley Cup contender for many, many seasons of success. The prospect pool is robust, the drafting has been very phenomenal, the scouting has been off the charts, and coaching will evolve when Lindy does decide to move on in his own right. The Devils are coming off a big season and they can start adding more players who want to play in a winning environment this offseason and during the next seasons trade deadline.