One of the most obvious problems the Devils have this year is depth scoring. The top line for New Jersey consists of Nico Hischier centering Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. There’s no doubt this trio is a great top unit to have, but that’s the Devils’ problem; their 1st line is really their only line.
Of course they aren’t the only forwards that produce, but the other 9 don’t do much. New Jersey is 23rd in total goals this year with 31, while the Pittsburgh Penguins lead the league with 43. Clearly we don’t have the same firepower as the Penguins, but 31 is not good.
The scoring on our team is very inconsistent. This is not really anything new because of the teams we have had in years prior. We would always have one line or a few players predominantly putting the pucks in the net. Look at the A-line during the playoffs in 2000. Jason Arnott, Patrik Elias, and Petr Sykora contributed for so many goals and was a key reason why New Jersey hoisted Lord Stanley.
Out of the 31 we’ve put in the net, at least one of Hall, Hischier, and Palmieri have a point on 17 of them, which is nearly 55%. The combined stats of them are 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points. To put that into perspective, arguably the best line in the NHL right now is Colorado’s top line. At least one of Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan Mackinnon-Mikko Rantanen has a point in just over 60% of their 41 total goals. This gives a combined total of 24 goals and 31 assists for a whopping 55 points for the LMR line.
Something that has been a little difficult to use when comparing the Devils with other teams has been games played. The Devils were one of 4 teams that had their season debut last. Granted they did go to Europe for the NHL Global Series in Switzerland and Sweden for 2 weeks. So far, New Jersey has had a span of 4 days off twice in a month. Not only that, the Devils have the fewest games played out of any other team in the league. The thing between us and Colorado is that the Avalanche is 5th in league scoring in 3 more games played than us.
What are your thoughts? Should Hynes split Hall-Hischier-Palmieri? If so, who should be where? Would you like to see Bratt move into that RW1 spot with Hall and Hischier when he comes back? Should New Jersey consider trading for unsigned RFA William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Photo: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports