Top 3 New Jersey Devils players who surprised us in 2023-24

The New Jersey Devils may have missed the playoffs, but it doesn’t mean there haven’t been at least a few surprise players this season amidst the madness.
Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils / Adam Hunger/GettyImages
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Wow, there may be a lot of New Jersey Devils fans heaving collective sighs of relief and saying, “Yeah, we’re glad that one’s over.” There are few fan bases across the NHL people are feeling worse for at the moment, with the loyal Arizona Coyotes fans taking the top spot for obvious reasons. 

But besides Buffalo Sabres fans, it’s rather easy to feel bad for a Devils fan base that believed they had a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, or at least serious contention to reach the Conference Finals, in their (very) near future. Instead, coaching changes, injuries, inconsistencies from top players, and horrific goaltending became a reality, and the Devils finished seventh in the Metropolitan Division with just 81 points. 

Talk about a season full of awful surprises, and one fans just want to forget and start looking toward the 2024 NHL Draft, where they at least have a chance to land a top 10 or even a top 5 draft pick. 

The New Jersey Devils 2023-24 season wasn’t full of bad surprises

Despite the misfortunes, it wasn’t all doom for the Devils, even if basic numbers and statistics indicate otherwise. 

Jack Hughes may have been the most impressive player and the top reason fans should be optimistic that he will further improve next season. Hughes seemed to be battling an injury or an ailment every time his name popped up in the news, but he still turned in 74 points and 27 goals - the latter tied for second on the team - in just 62 games. 

He could have neared the 100-point mark had he been healthy all season. And for someone in their age-22 campaign, it makes you wonder what he will do to opponents a year or two down the road. 

Hughes’ performance, despite him fighting through adversity, wasn’t entirely surprising. But we can’t say the same about the following three players in this slideshow. They may not have all enjoyed outstanding or even good seasons, but when you look closely, they all played surprisingly well.