5 Decisions That Led To Failed New Jersey Devils Season

The New Jersey Devils season is essentially over after a Saturday night loss to the Ottawa Senators. Now, it's time to evaluate where Tom Fitzgerald failed in his decision making that led to a lost season in the middle of a contention window.

New Jersey Devils forwards Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes
New Jersey Devils forwards Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Replacing Sharangovich, Boqvist, and Wood with Nosek, Tierney, and “Foote”

The Devils depth has been awful this season. The Devils lost a lot of young players with NHL experience. Some players, like Yegor Sharangovich, were traded for upgrades in other places in the lineup (Sharangovich was trade for Tyler Toffoli). Others were let go in free agency, sometimes by denying a qualifying offer (the case for Jesper Boqvist) and other times letting them go in unrestricted free agency (the case for Miles Wood, among others).

The Devils thought they could replace the outgoing young players (Sharangovich 25, Boqvist 25, Wood 28) with even younger players and a few cagey veterans. Unfortunately, that exploded in their face. Tomas Nosek and Nolan Foote were both injured before the season started. Nosek has been ineffective all year, possibly due to the injury, and Foote still hasn't played in the NHL.

The Devils have been forced to regularly play Chris Tierney, Kurtis MacDermid, and Max Willman. Meanwhile, Sharangovich has 28 goals this season. Boqvist has earned a position in the Bruins lineup, and Wood has been a very good contributor for the Colorado Avalanche, especially on the penalty kill.

We don't believe the Devils departed young guns would have had the same role on this team, meaning their positions would likely be worse today. However, when the upgrades are clearly worse, it's a major issue. Adding in the Devils lost Mike McLeod when he was arrested for his role in an alleged sexual assault, and they were not prepared for the losses that impacted this team's depth.