As we approach the start of a new year, we also look forward to the rest of the NHL season to finish in 2019. However, most aren’t that optimistic about the outlook for the NJ Devils these days.
Statistically, they have been steadily declining ever since their record opening “4-win streak” and are now arguably the lowest ranked team in the league, standing in with only 33 points at 13-16-7.
While it can be bearable to think of the team as still being in rebuild mode, this is in no way the season most fans where expecting. Last year, they not only made the playoffs, but the team’s Assitant Captain, Taylor Hall, was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP. They were also awarded the 1st Overall Draft Pick, Nico Hischier, and Top-Tiered, college championship winning Defensemen, Will Butcher. They were also able to obtain top league talent such as Marcus Johanson and Sammi Vatinen. Then just at the start of this season, there was the outstanding news that Brian Boyle was given a clean bill of health, having his last year’s leukemia diagnosis settle into full remission. Heck, this was supposed to be another standout year for the Devils! However for whatever reason, it just wasn’t the case.
Schneider is out indefinitely following his inability to recover effectively from hip displacement surgery, and Taylor Hall will also be missing games due to continuing problems with a recent lower body injury. One of the only positive stories in the Devils’ lineup right now is that of the new netminder Mackenzie Blackwood, who is continuing to perform superbly as a possible replacement #1, considering Kinkaid has not shared much success this year while Schneider remains without a single victory.