3 reasons why the New Jersey Devils can still sneak into the NHL playoffs

It’s been beyond a tough year for the New Jersey Devils, but they are not out of the running for a playoff spot thanks to turbulence in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey Devils v Dallas Stars
New Jersey Devils v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
1 of 4

The New Jersey Devils were a team on the cusp of taking the next step this season to make a deep playoff run following a year when they went to the Second Round of the NHL Playoffs. But poor play in the net, injuries, and inconsistency led to head coach Lindy Ruff getting relieved of his coaching duties, making this a season to forget, or at least on paper. 

But the reality is, the Devils are just six points out of the second wild card spot as of March 17th, so their playoff chances are still there. No, it’s not likely that they will overcome the odds in a single month with quite a few teams still ahead of them. However, when you look at the Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, and New York Islanders, every last one of them have also struggled this season. 

Therefore, it’s still anyone’s race to snag that second wild card slot, and the Devils at least have a chance to jump ahead of the four teams mentioned above. 

New Jersey Devils can still earn a trip to the NHL playoffs

Despite the inconsistencies and injury bug, the Devils are still good enough, at least offensively, to make things interesting for the final month of the regular season. While they lost their top scorer, Tyler Toffoli, in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets, this team still has Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, Timo Meier, and defenseman, Luke Hughes who can still contribute to the goal-scoring effort. 

That, combined with the fact the Devils haven’t been awful defensively unless you count the goaltending, is another reason to believe their season isn’t over just yet, despite the bleak circumstances. 

Speaking of goaltending, New Jersey didn’t get any future franchise goaltenders at the trade deadline, but Kaapo Kahkonen and Jake Allen should be serviceable with a better hockey team in front of them. So let’s explore why this team still, somehow, has some fight left in them as we head into the 2023-24 season’s final lap.