With the start of the regular season two days away, we continue to look at each team’s off-season and preview the upcoming year. Today, we focus on the New Jersey Devils.
Last Season: 38-36-8 record (84 points), 7th in the Metropolitan Division.
Remaining Cap Space: $11.4MM per CapFriendly
Players To Watch: Taylor Hall. The Devils made waves this summer by trading defenseman Adam Larsson to the Edmonton Oilers for former number one pick Taylor Hall. Hall is an elite talent, scoring 132G and 196A in 381 NHL games for the Oilers, and he looks to continue to do that in New Jersey. The trade reflects more on the Oilers’ need for a team shakeup rather than a comment on Hall’s skill, so the Devils did not purchase damaged goods. In fact, most hockey pundits view this trade as a steal for New Jersey.
Hall was blindsided by the move, but has quickly acclimated himself to his new team, reported Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. He’ll immediately become the Devil’s top line threat alongside Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. The Devils suffered down the stretch last season after Mike Cammalleri went down with a wrist injury, and went out and acquired more offensive help.
Key Storyline: Scoring. Namely, can the Devils score? The team finished last in goals scored last year (184) in large part because of injuries to aging Patrik Elias and the oft-injured Mike Cammalleri. Kyle Palmieri emerged as the team’s bright spot, potting 30 goals for the first time in his career, and the Devils will need him to continue his newfound offensive prowess if they expect to challenge for a playoff spot. The team also brought in Taylor Hall to boost its anemic offense and his goal-scoring touch should propel the Devils from the bottom of the offensive heap.