The Devils had a tough offseason last year watching Zach Parise walk to Minnesota and sign a monster contract. The Devils kept on keeping on to start the season after losing in the finals in 2012 to the Los Angeles Kings.
The Devils were winning games up until March. Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a shoulder injury and the Devils were unable to keep up with their opponents. The Devils put up a pathetic 4-8-1 in the last month of the season, and watched their playoff hopes crumble before their eyes.
The Devils finished the season with a record of 19-19-10, and landed in the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey’s offense was never able to stay consistent and scored a total of only 112 goals throughout the season. Nashville was the only team in the league to score fewer goals than the Devils.
The Devils powerplay ranked 21st in the league with a percentage of 15.9%. The penalty kill sat in the middle of the road at 81.1%. The Devils did lead the league with a total of 11 short handed goals, but in turn gave up the second most shorties this season.
David Clarkson led the team with 15 goals this season, while veteran Patrick Elias led the Devils with 22 assists. Martin Brodeur stayed strong in net while he was healthy. Brodeur battled injuries this season, and had to leave Johan Hedberg with the duties in net. Broduer ended the season with 13 wins and 2 shutouts, with a goals against average of 2.22.
I’m under the understanding that the Devils do not want to pay David Clarkson what he thinks he is worth, and he will take his chances in free agency. Dainius Zubrus, Patrick Elias, Marek Zidlicky, Steve Sullivan, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Peter Harrold, and Tom Kostopoulos are all also unrestricted free agents this summer. I expect Elias, Zubrus, and Zidlicky to stick around, and the rest we’ll have to see what the Devils think is necessary. Adam Henrique is a young star on the rise in New Jersey and he is a restricted free agent this summer. Henrique is key in the Devils future and they should be able to lock him up.
The Devils late season collapse had a lot to do with injuries that the team was dealing with. Injuries are something that every team has to deal with, and the depth players have to be able to step up while the stars are out. The Devils depth wasn’t able to do that and in turn, it eventually pushed them out of the playoff race late in the season.
Topics: Adam Henrique, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Dainius Zubrus, David Clarkson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Patrik Elias, Peter Harrold, Season In Review, Steve Sullivan, Tom Kostopoulos, Zach Parise