I wrote this article on a blog website. Thought I'd post it here as well. See what kind of reception I get.
As the 2011-2012 season quickly approaches, I will do an in depth season preview of each team in the Atlantic Division. Today we take a look at a team that had a roller coaster ride of a season last year, the New Jersey Devils.
The New Jersey Devils hope to avoid a repeat of last season, which saw them fail to qualify the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1996.
An atrocious start to last year's season, which saw the team go 9-22-2, ended up biting the Devils at season's end. Not even the resurgence of Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk and the mastermind coaching of interim head-coach Jacques Lemaire could propel Jersey's Team into the playoffs despite numerous long term winning streaks.
Their were a few bright spots, however, that should be accounted for.
A youth movement was finally installed into the Devils organization after a Zach Parise injury, and the moving of dead weight, Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner forced callups from Albany.
Youngsters Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Joseffson led this group and have proved to Lou Lamiorello that they are capable of playing in the NHL full time this season. Tedenby's marvelous hands, and quickness could lead to a potential 25-30 goal scorer down the road. Josefsson possesses maturity way beyond his years, and is responsible on both sides of the puck.
Providence College graduate, defenseman Mark Fayne turned into an unexpected surprise. He was a constant int the Devils lineup for most of the duration of the 2010-2011 season. He found himself on a defensive pair with veteran Henrik Tallinder. The 24 year old can become a reliable defensive defenseman if he continues on this path.
The Devils offseason started with a bang, as they selected Adam Larsson with their 4th overall selection. After playing in the Swedish Elite League, the best and most prominent league in Sweden, Larsson may potentially be a regular in the Devil's lineup this season. He certainly has potential to be a top two defenseman. However he is just 18 years old, and going to Albany maybe a more intelligent move.
The Devils had a relatively quiet offseason. They locked up Andy Greene and many other young players in their system.
Greene aspires to have a bounce back season, as he only put up 23 points with a horrendous minus 23. You can't really blame Greene, as that minus stat is a reflection of how bad this team was to begin the season.
On July 19, the Devils went through a rather routine procedure-hiring a new head coach. The Devils haven't been too stable when it comes to coaching. They hired former Florida Panthers head-coach, Peter Deboer. Deboer did exceptionally well, considering the limited talent he had in the sunshine state.
Deboer is a coach who puts on a team that will compete night in night out. Something we haven't really been able to say about Devils teams in years past.
The Devils cleared up much needed cap space when they traded Brian Rolston to the Islanders and bought out longtime d-man, Colin White.
In return for Rolston, the Devils acquired Trent Hunter, but then proceeded to buy out the veteran.
Added to the fold were tough guys Eric Boulton and former fan favorite, Cam Janssen.
Although they aren't necessarily expected to be in the lineup every night, they shall provide some much needed spark, especially against division rivals.
The biggest transaction the Devils made was the resigning of left winger Zach Parise. The Devils resigned him for just one year for a cap hit of six million. He is eligible to test the market next offseason if not resigned before July 1st, 2012.
Parise suited up for just 13 games in 2010-2011. A torn meniscus forced the former first round draft pick to sit out most of the season.
Expect a big year from Parise, as he hopes to cash in for his next contract, whether it will be with the Devils or not.
Legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur will be entering the final year of his contract (gulp), which annually pays him a little over five million dollars a year.
With three Stanley Cups already on his resume, he hopes to add another before he hangs up the skates. He hopes to regain his dominance in net this year after putting up just 23 wins last season.
The Devils are in a youth movement right now. However, I see this team in the playoffs come mid April. They boost loads of talent. Although they may not claim home ice advantage, they will be among the top eight in the Eastern Conference.