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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1. The Goalie

Obviously, the biggest issue this season was never addressing the goaltending situation. It would have been ideal to acquire Connor Hellebuyck before the season, but in reality, the Winnipeg Jets probably didn’t want to trade their franchise netminder. They gave him the big contract. So, even if you assume that it wasn’t a sure thing, the Devils still could have done something in the offseason.

Instead, the Devils went with Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid to start the year. We all saw what happened. We were all there. It didn’t work, and that was clear basically from the start of the season.

The real issue was never addressing it until they got Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen at the NHL Trade Deadline. The Devils needed help there for months, and it was left to its own devices, and now the season is over. If the Devils had a goalie in November or December, they are a playoff team. It’s that simple. 

It took a lot for this season to finish this badly, but the Devils need to learn from this and move on. Fitzgerald is not losing his job, and frankly he shouldn’t. He took some risks with roster construction and he was wrong. He took a risk trusting Ruff over someone like Andrew Brunette and he was wrong. He should be given the grace to learn from this mistake and build a better team because of it.