Happy Monday Devils fans! It’s still fun to say that the New Jersey Devils won the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and will most likely be selecting JACK HUGHES. In May, I’ll be delving into Hughes’ stats and overall hockey IQ with some fun articles so stay tuned!
For my latest interview, I spoke with Perrin Defreitas (@PMD_91) and asked him a few questions…
Q: Who is your favorite player on the current roster? Why?
A: Perrin – “This is a tough one but it’s between Jesper Bratt & Blake Coleman. I love the way they both play however, I will have to go with Jesper Bratt. I’ve been a fan of his since the Prospect Challenge in 2017. He was jumping off the screen every time he was on the ice and it continued into the preseason. When he made the opening night roster I was pumped. And when he scored that Power Play goal in the Home Opener against the Avalanche, I went nuts! I was cheering so loud that my throat started to hurt. Even though his rookie season started off fantastic, his level of play was not the same the 2nd half of that season. However, this season I think he came back strong once he returned from injury. I’m excited to see him grow and be a stud in the next few years as well as one of the foundations for this hockey team.”
Q: Cory Schneider definitely started to find his game towards the end of the season. What are your thoughts on him for next season?
A: Perrin – “Cory had a rough 2018, he did not win a single regular season game. He did look good in the playoffs against the Lightning but the Devils were no match for them. I believe when he came back from injury this past season, he wasn’t fully healed and that messed with his psyche. This led him to become his own worst enemy. But man, once he got that monkey off his back, did he look good. I am so happy that Cory got his confidence back because this man deserves a medal for dealing with those awful Devils teams for his first 4 seasons. He carried those teams and kept them in games but they couldn’t score for him. I am super excited to see Cory and Mackenzie Blackwood as the Devils goaltending tandem next season. I believe they can win the William M. Jennings Trophy if the team stays healthy in front of them.”
Q: As a season ticket holder, you’ve been to a lot of games at The Prudential Center (a.k.a The Rock). What is your favorite part about going to games at The Rock?
A: Perrin – “As a season ticket holder I have been to a ton of games throughout my 5 years, 197 to be exact. I’ve only missed 9 games in that time frame. I try my best to make sure I make it to the Rock every game. As for my favorite part, it would have to be all the different people I get to take. I have pair of tickets for myself and I try to take as many different people as possible. I have taken approximately 60 different people to a game in my 5 years, 30 different people this past season. The joy of watching the Devils with my family, friends, and or a hockey fan in general is always a recipe for a good time. My goal is to be able to take 41 different people to a game in one season.”
Q: If you had to fire a current coach, who would you fire? Why?
A: Perrin – “I want to fire all the assistant coaches after this past season because this team was awful! Also, I don’t believe Head Coach John Hynes should have gotten his extension when he did but I digress. The assistant coach that really has to go is Alain Nasreddine. My God was this defense horrendous this season. Now I know it’s not all on the coaches and some of it is on the players but when you have a bad defensive group and a 36-year-old playing in a top 2 role, you need to make adjustments. The number of times there were opposing teams players wide open in the slot and I repeat, WIDE OPEN was mind-boggling. The Rangers game back on January 31 is a prime example of this. Now the goaltending wasn’t much better until after the trade deadline but still, the defense can’t be giving up those looks. Now the defense looked somewhat better down the stretch maybe that had to do with the consistent goaltending I’m not sure. Regardless, the defense is one of the positions General Manager Ray Shero needs to address in the off-season.”
Q: Do you think Taylor Hall will re-sign with the Devils?
A: Perrin – “I do believe Taylor Hall will re-sign with the Devils but I wouldn’t guarantee it because nothing in life is guaranteed. He did come out and say he is comfortable in NJ and likes it here but still has to think about it. Which is understandable, his next contract is going to be the most important contract of his life. It will determine where he is going to play most of, if not the rest of his prime. I believe once Hall sits down with Shero, his family, and friends he will remain in NJ for the stability. When he was in Edmonton, he had 3 different GMs and one of them being the worst GMs ever (thank you though Chiarelli) and 5 different coaches in 6 years. Since he has been in NJ he has had the same coach and general manager for 3 years going on 4. Plus, he has a ton of respect of John Hynes and Shero is one of the better GMs in the league so he knows he will do his best to make this a winning team. However, this is Shero’s biggest off-season as the Devils GM. He needs to show Hall that he means business and I believe he will.”
Q: Now that it’s known what the Devils draft position is, who should Ray Shero pick?
A: Perrin – “I am writing this answer less than 2 hours after it was announced that the Devils have the NUMBER 1 PICK BABY!!! So I am still pretty pumped. As for who they should pick, I would have to say Jack Hughes. That is an obvious choice and don’t get me wrong Kaapo Kakko would be fine too because they both address a need aka top 6 forwards. However, I think to get a potential elite center is better than having a potential elite winger. Shero and the scouting team will do their due diligence and pick what is best for this team. What a time to be alive as a Devils fan. This is going to be an exciting off-season!”
Perrin also gave his thoughts on what the line-up may look like on Opening Night in October and poses a question to Devils fans:
I just want to throw this in and maybe it can be a point of discussion between Devils fans throughout the off-season.
This is what I think the lineup could look like Opening Night with the people they have under contract plus the main needs (?) that Shero needs to address via free agency/trades. To the readers, what do you think the Opening Night roster will look like? Agree or disagree with mine?
Taylor Hall – Nico Hischier – Kyle Palmieri
Jesper Bratt – Jack Hughes/? – Kaapo Kakko/?
Miles Wood – Travis Zajac – Blake Coleman
Pavel Zacha – Mikey McLeod – Nathan Bastian
? – Damon Severson
Will Butcher – Sami Vatanen
Ty Smith/Andy Greene – Connor Carrick
Kenny Agostino, Kevin Rooney, Steven Santini
Cory Schneider, Mackenzie Blackwood
Thanks, Perrin for taking the time to answer some of the questions and give your thoughts! Stay tuned for next week for a new set of questions and a new interviewee!
Cover Photo: Julio Cortez/AP