New Jersey Devils are no longer an NHL darling, and that's a good thing

The New Jersey Devils disappointing season had very few redeeming qualities. One good thing might be getting the hype train to visit a different stop than Newark Penn Station.
Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils came into last season as one of the must-see teams in the NHL. Jack Hughes and Luke Hughes playing together was a constant storyline along with Jack Hughes' ascent to the top of the NHL pyramid. Add onto that an up-and-coming team playing on the outskirts of North America's biggest TV market, and the Devils were a marketing dream. Of course, we've heard a lot about marketing over the years, and Devils fans are probably sick of it.

Good news: Devils fans won't see much marketing this offseason, which will lead to fewer opportunities next season. This means fewer nationally televised games on ESPN, Hulu, and TNT. It also means fewer huge broadcast pieces on the Devils, like this one by Emily Kaplan of ESPN.

On paper, this is definitely a bad thing. Fewer marketing opportunities means fewer tickets purchased which could eventually mean higher prices for fans. That is, unless the Devils make the playoffs and the revenue there makes up for all the issues up front.

The Devils clearly heard the hype and had issues bouncing back early in the season. Of course, injuries, goaltending issues, and adjusting to the young played a bigger role, but to look at last season and not understand the hype was too much for a young roster and a head coach who let his players dictate a little too much would be disingenuous.

This season, the Devils will just get their normal amount of hype and publicity, which is not much. That's fine. Let the Devils fly under the radar again. It's exactly where they should be.

Of course, this will impact other important elements to the players. There will be some issues with jersey sales and sponsorship opportunities, but that hasn't been the case yet. Jack Hughes was still the second-highest selling jersey this past season, only trailing rookie phenom Connor Bedard.

Hype is a funny thing. The Devils were loved by analytics experts and traditional analysts alike. The former will likely be easier to bring back on the hype train if the Devils want them back. If Tom Fitzgerald gets himself a goalie, that might get the other side of it as well, but it will take some time to be what it was going into last season. The Devils might be playoff contenders in the eyes of broadcast analysts, but that won't be enough to change how the world looks at them.