New Jersey Devils Season Preview: Bold Predictions and Breakout Performers

Jack Hughes #86 of New Jersey Devils celebrates his second period goal against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center on October 04, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #86 of New Jersey Devils celebrates his second period goal against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center on October 04, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87): Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Which NHL team (besides the Devils) will be the biggest surprise? Biggest disappointment?

Villano: I may be crazy, but the biggest surprise to me is going to be the Vancouver Canucks. Demko comes back to form, and Pettersson goes nuclear with a new contract on the line. The biggest disappointment is the Florida Panthers. That playoff run has us ignoring the fact the Penguins had to lose to Chicago just for them to get in.

Parise: The biggest surprise will be the Columbus Blue Jackets. They can’t be worse than they were last year, and the additions they made are nice. The biggest disappointment will be the Detroit Red Wings. Many people expect them to take a step, but it doesn’t feel like they will.

DeLuca: Buffalo appears to be getting all of the hype surrounding nonplayoff teams finding their way back to the dance with ease. Don’t overlook those Detroit Red Wings, though. That’s your surprise team. Disappointment: Winnipeg. This is going to be a very ugly regression! Sell on them as fast as possible.

Borges Jr.: The biggest surprise in the NHL this year will be the Arizona Coyotes. They will not be near the playoffs, but they will not be even close to the bottom feeder we all know them to be. The biggest disappointment will be the Boston Bruins. They have lost too much, including the heart and soul of that team, Patrice Bergeron.

Rice: I think the biggest surprise will likely be Nashville or Detroit contending for a playoff spot. The biggest disappointment will be either Pittsburgh or Edmonton – neither will be as good as some of the pundits believe.

Williams: The popular answer would be the Buffalo Sabres, but I’m going to throw a dart here and say the Detroit Red Wings will be the NHL’s biggest surprise this season. The Boston Bruins cannot sustain last year’s success, and due to some key departures, they will be the biggest disappointment in the NHL.

Bailey: The Stars seem to be heavily slept on after a really efficient summer, while the Kings’ addition of Pierre-Luc Dubois has only set them up for failure and further disappointment.

Fink: The Vancouver Canucks will be the biggest surprise this season, and the Boston Bruins will be the biggest disappointment.

Russell: I believe the Blue Jackets will surprise NHL fans. With Fantilli, Johnson, Gaudreau, and others, they have a young but underrated lineup.

Stanislau: Biggest disappointment is the Pittsburgh Penguins 🐧, they are very old yet slower, and have few prospects to lean on. The Buffalo Sabres will shake up the Atlantic Division with their young guns and veteran talent.

Rubin: Biggest Surprise: Pittsburgh Penguins – Many people are counting them out due to age, but they reloaded on talent in the offseason. Biggest Disappointment: Boston Bruins – As if last season’s first-round playoff exit following a phenomenal regular season wasn’t disappointing enough, they will take a step back this year due to a significant roster downgrade.

Garrison: I think the Red Wings will be the surprise team because they certainly have a lot of young talent that can showcase well in the season, plus they have a great scorer in Alex DeBrincat. The team that will be a big disappointment will be the Florida Panthers due to a regression of having a good run last year, and losing Aaron Ekblad will hurt them in the long run.

Annaluru: Biggest surprise: Ottawa
Biggest disappointment: LA Kings

Holiday: The Buffalo Sabers have been bad for a long time, and this is the season they get it all together and make the playoffs. The biggest disappointment will be the Bruins falling from a record season to missing the playoffs.