New Jersey Devils: 3 Biggest Threats On Way To Stanley Cup Final

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MAY 09: Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Four of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 09, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MAY 09: Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Four of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 09, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7): Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

Pittsburgh Penguins

Before anybody scoffs, the Penguins are still a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference. People have a sour taste in their mouths with Pittsburgh because of how last season ended. That’s the first time in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin’s Pittsburgh tenure that they missed the playoffs. Since 2006, they have been a top team in the East, and the 2023-24 season might be their last dance.

Not many things are left unsaid about the trio of Sid, Geno, and Kris Letang. If you factor in aspects of the first two teams blocking the Devils’ path, what team has all of those aspects? Pittsburgh. If  a puck bounced differently last season, Pittsburgh makes the playoffs, and Florida doesn’t get the time of day. That didn’t happen, but it won’t go down that way next year.

Pittsburgh has enough key players in the right spots to make noise. After a down year on the defensive side, they added former Devil, Ryan Graves, to sure up that side of the puck. Now under the helm of new President Kyle Dubas, the Pens will tinker with the rotations for another run at the Cup.

Pittsburgh will be the most questioned team on this list, but for New Jersey, this team and core is the measuring stick. Get through the Penguins, learn from their ascent, and try to make your own dynasty.

dark. Next. 5 Things We Learned In 2022-23

It doesn’t end there

The teams left off are equally talented to some on here. Tampa Bay, New York Rangers, and Florida could all have made the cut. The Eastern Conference is loaded, and all of the teams think it will be their time to rule the conference. For New Jersey this upcoming season, it’s about steady growth. Being the youngest team in contention could be a disadvantage, but if it’s anything like last year, the kids will be alright.