Team Overview: NEW JERSEY DEVILS

New Jersey Devils

NEW JERSEY DEVILS: By the Numbers

2014-2015
Overall Record: 32-36-14-78
Standings: Metropolitan Division: 7, Eastern Conference: 13, League: 25
Playoff Result: Did not make playoffs

2015-2016
Overall Record: 10-6-1-21
Home Record: 5-4-1
Away Record: 5-2
Shootout Record: 2-1
Standings: Metropolitan Division: 3, Eastern Conference: 4, League: 9
Goals For: 42 (NHL rank: 23)
Goals Against: 39 (NHL rank: 24)
Power Play Percentage: 22 percent (NHL rank: 8)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 82.1 percent (NHL rank: 10)
Leading Scorer: Mike Cammalleri (6-11-17)
 

2015-2016 Overview:

The New Jersey Devils have failed to make the playoffs for three years in a row. The Devils did not reach the playoffs in 2010-2011; otherwise, the team has reached the postseason in every season since the 1996-1997 season. The Devils had not missed the playoffs in consecutive years since the 1980’s in the franchise’s first five seasons. Clearly, something is amiss in New Jersey. Some of it can be blamed on the shocking departure of superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, but at the same time it has been several years since Kovalchuk left the NHL. At some point, the current team needs to be accountable for its performance.

The Devils have played quite well so far in the 2015-2016 season. The team had the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft, and many expected the Devils to finish at the bottom of the standings again this year. Surprisingly, New Jersey is tied for third place in the Metropolitan Division and tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference through 17 games. The Devils organization has a lot of new faces, from players to coaches to management; however, things seem to be going smoothly so far. A lot of it has been the stellar play of goaltender Cory Schneider, and a lot of it can be attributed to various contributions from up and down the Devils lineup. Whatever the case is, the Devils are playing well and will look to continue to be a competitive team in a tight division down the stretch.

 
Last Game: November 14 vs. Pittsburgh (Final: 4-0)
Next Game: November 17 vs. Calgary, 9:00pm EST
 

Waivers:
Claimed F Bobby Farnham off waivers from Pittsburgh.
 

Line Combinations

Here are the line combinations the New Jersey Devils used in the team’s most recent game:
 
Forwards
Cammalleri-Henrique-Stempniak
Kalinin-Zajac-Palmieri
Tlusty-Josefson-Tootoo
Farnham-Gionta-O’Neill

Defensemen
Greene-Larsson
Moore-Severson
Merrill-Schlemko

Goalies
Cory Schneider
Keith Kinkaid
 

Offseason Overview

Trades:

  • 2015 2nd-round pick (41) and 2016 3rd-round pick to Anaheim for F Kyle Palmieri
  • 2015 2nd-round pick (36) to Ottawa for 2015 2nd-round pick (42) and 2016 3rd-round pick
  • 2017 conditional 7th-round pick to Los Angeles for F Brian O’Neill

Re-Signed:

  • G Keith Kinkaid (2-year deal with AAV* of $725,000)
  • D Eric Gelinas (2-year deal with AAV* of $1.575 million)
  • D Seth Helgeson (2-year deal with AAV* of $587,500)
  • D Adam Larsson (6-year deal with AAV* of $4,166,666)
  • F Ryan Kukawinski (3-year ELC with AAV* of $692,500)
  • F Blake Pietila (2-year ELC with AAV* of $662,500)
  • G Scott Wedgewood (2-year deal with AAV* of $587,500)
  • F Blake Coleman (2-year ELC with AAV* of $680,000)
  • F Stefan Matteau (2-year deal with AAV* of $612,500)
  • F John Quenneville (3-year ELC with AAV* of $842,500)
  • G Ken Appleby (3-year ELC with AAV* of $635,000)
  • F Jordin Tootoo (1-year contract at $825,000)
  • F Paul Thompson (2-year deal with AAV* of $575,000)
  • F Pavel Zacha (3-year ELC with AAV* of $925,000)

Free Agents Signed:

  • D John Moore (3-year deal with AAV* of $1,666,666)
  • D David Schlemko (1-year contract at $625,000)
  • F Jiri Tlusty (1-year contract at $800,000)
  • F Sergey Kalinin (1-year ELC at $925,000)
  • F Jim O’Brien (1-year contract at $575,000)
  • D Marc-Andre Gragnani (1-year contract at $575,000)
  • G Yann Danis (1-year contract at $575,000)
  • F Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (1-year contract at $575,000)
  • D Vojtech Mozik (2-year ELC with AAV* of $680,000)
  • F Lee Stempniak (1-year contract at $850,000)
  • F Tyler Kennedy–PTO (later released)

Draft Recap:

  • Round 1 (6) C Pavel Zacha
  • Round 2 (42) G Mackenzie Blackwood
  • Round 3 (67) C Blake Speers
  • Round 4 (97) D Colton White
  • Round 6 (157) LW Brett Seney

Notable Extensions:
None

Free Agents Lost:

  • F Joe Whitney–NY Islanders
  • F Steve Bernier–NY Islanders
  • D Mark Fraser–Ottawa
  • D Bryce Salvador–retired
  • F Tim Sestito–UFA
  • F Scott Timmins–UFA
  • F Martin Havlat–St. Louis
  • G Maxime Clermont–UFA
  • F Vladimir Zharkov–UFA
  • F Darcy Zajac–UFA
  • F Scott Gomez–St. Louis
  • D Peter Harrold–St. Louis
  • D Corbin McPherson–UFA
  • F Cam Janssen–Nottingham (EIHL-U.K.)
  • F Michael Ryder–UFA
  • G Scott Clemmensen-retired

Buyouts:
F Dainius Zubrus ($3.1 million cap hit penalty in Year 1)

Organizational Changes:

  • Announced president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello will give up his position as general manager
  • Named Ray Shero general manager
  • Named John Hynes coach
  • Retained goaltending coach Chris Terreri
  • Named Geoff Ward and Alain Nasreddine assistant coaches
  • Named Scott Clemmensen goaltending development coach
  • Announced that the contract of executive vice president of hockey operations/director of scouting David Conte will not be renewed
  • Named Tom Fitzgerald assistant general manager
  • Announced the resignation of team president Lou Lamoriello to become general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Named Andy Schneider amateur scout
  • Patrick Rissmiller development coach
  • Named Daniel Cherry III chief marketing and innovation officer for the club and the Prudential Center
  • Named Joe Lorincz strength and conditioning coach
  • Named Pertti Hasanen development/skills coach
  • Named Andre Savard and Claude Noel professional scouts
  • Named executive president and general manager, Ray Shero, governor for Albany (AHL)
  • Named assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald general manager for Albany
  • Named Eric Weinrich development coach
  • Named David Collins executive vice president and chief financial officer
  • Named Paul Castron director of amateur scouting
  • Named David Collins executive vice president and chief financial officer

 
*AAV=Average Annual Value (cap hit)
 
 

Significant Moves

Here is an overview of the most significant moves made by the New Jersey Devils, and how the those moves will continue to affect the 2015-2016 season:

Trading for Palmieri:

New Jersey Devils

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


New Jersey Devils

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils acquired Kyle Palmieri from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for two draft picks. Palmieri is in his last year of a 3-year deal with an average annual value of $1,466,666. The Ducks were facing cap issues moving forward and therefore needed to make some difficult decisions. Though the Ducks are not concerned about going up against the cap limit, the team may face issues related to tagging, a complicated concept that affects how many players can be signed to extensions.

Palmieri, who grew up in Montvale, New Jersey, has brought playmaking ability and a scoring touch to the Devils. Though the knock on Palmieri has always been his size, he has flourished on the Devils’ top line along with Mike Cammalleri and Adam Henrique.

Last season Palmieri scored 14 goals and 15 assists for a total of 29 points in 57 games with the Ducks; he added four points in 16 playoff games. Palmieri scored 31 points in 71 games in 2013-2014 and 21 points in 42 games in the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season. In 215 career NHL games Palmieri has 49 goals and 54 assists for a total of 103 points; he has 12 points in 33 career playoff games, all with the Ducks.

More importantly, however, Palmieri has 14 points in 17 games so far this season with the Devils. He has six goals and eight assists, 44 shots on goal and has maintained a shooting percentage of 13.6%. He has played exceptionally well, and this trade has already paid dividends for the Devils.
 

Strengthening a young defense corps:

New Jersey Devils

Adam Larsson
Photo via Pro Hockey Talk/NBC Sports

The Devils took several steps to shore up a strong defense corps for the future. The Devils are historically known as a team built on defense. Between signing Adam Larsson to a six-year extension to re-signing Eric Gelinas to a 2-year deal to signing free agent John Moore to a reasonable 3-year contract, New Jersey has taken important steps to make sure the team has a strong and dependable defensive unit moving forward. Along with Andy Greene and Damon Severson, the Devils’ defense looks impressive and will only continue to improve. The defense has recorded a combined 22 points so far this season.

Larsson, a 23-year-old Swedish defenseman taken in the first round (4th overall) by the Devils in the 2011 draft, tallied 24 points in 64 games last season. Though he has only 3 points in 17 games this year, his overall play in the defensive end has improved compared to previous years. Gelinas, 24 years old, was a 2nd-round pick in 2009. John Moore has 43 points in 246 career NHL games with the Blue Jackets, Rangers, Coyotes and Devils.
 

Final Thoughts

The New Jersey Devils are beating odds and exceeding expectations so far this season. It has been impressive to see so much early success from a team with a new coach, a new general manager and many new faces in the locker room. Night in and night out the Devils put forth a collaborative effort, each member of the team committed to a winning culture. Though the Devils still have a long way to go, the team has not looked this convincing in several years. Cory Schneider has been lights out at times, and the team is finally generating offense and, more specifically, goals, something the team has struggled with over the past several seasons. The Devils are currently in third place in the division, fourth in the conference and one of the top 10 teams in the entire NHL. Though several signings were low-risk moves, such as signing Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty to inexpensive one-year contracts, things seem to be paying off for the Devils so far. The team is establishing a strong identity for the 2015-2016 Devils and for the future of the franchise, and everyone seems to be buying in to the philosophy. Prospects like John Quenneville and Pavel Zacha will only strengthen the future of the organization. After several down years, it seems as though New Jersey is finally back on the rise.
 
 
Featured image credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports