The New Jersey Devils\’ offseason was one of the best. After finishing last in both the Metropolitan and Eastern conference with just 70 points, the Devs won the NHL draft lottery, and got the first overall pick. They used the pick to select C Nico Hischier. Besides Hischier, the Devils were still successful in the offseason, acquiring LW Marcus Johansson from the Capitals. Here\’s a full look at their offseason.
Notable additions: LW Marcus Johansson, C Brian Boyle, D Mirco Mueller, RW Drew Stafford, D Will Butcher, D Brian Strait.
Notable subtractions: F Michael Cammalieri, F Beau Bennett, D John Merrill, C Jacob Josefson, F Devante Smith-Pelly, D Yohann Auvitu.
Here are my projected forward lines.
Taylor Hall – Adam Henrique – Kyle Palmieri
Marcus Johansson – Nico Hischier – Pavel Zacha
Miles Wood – Brian Boyle – Drew Stafford
Joseph Blandisi – Blake Coleman – Stefan Noesen
Hall is the star of the team. Henrique is a solid top-6 center, and has past chemistry with Hall. Palmieri is a good top line right winger. Zacha is a good young player. Hischier will need to adjust to the NHL. Stafford is underrated, and a pretty good top-9 winger. The 4th line is okay, but the three players on it wouldn\’t be on most NHL rosters.
Here are my projected defensive pairs.
Mirco Mueller – Damon Severson
Will Butcher – Andy Greene
John Moore – Ben Lovejoy
Mueller never got a chance to be a full-time starter with the Sharks, but will be one in Jersey. Severson is their best defenseman, and just signed a six year extension. Playing with a vet in Greene can help Butcher, who\’s a rookie. Steven Santini can beat out Lovejoy or Moore for the starting role. Dalton Prout and Brian Strait are the other extra defensemen.
Schneider is a really good goalie, but injuries led him to having a horrible 2016-17. With Schneider down, Kinkaid had a better year than Schneider. Prospect MacKenzie Blackwood and Scott Wedgewood are the AHL goalies and will be called up if there\’s an injury.
I think the Devils still have a lot of work to do to be a Cup contender, or a playoff contender. I predict that they will miss the playoffs in 2017-18.