Previewing the East: New Jersey Devils
Tuesday, 08.13.2013 / 7:00 AM / Features
By Kristyn Repke - BlueJackets.com
NOTE: Over the next several weeks, BlueJackets.com will take an extensive, in-depth look at the Jackets' new opponents in the Eastern Conference. Be on the lookout for photo galleries, analysis, video highlights and more!
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Head coach: Peter DeBoer
Captain: Bryce Salvador
LAST YEAR: 19-19-10 (48 points), 11th overall in the Eastern Conference
VS. CBJ in '13-14: 10/22, 12/10, 12/27, 2/27
OUTLOOK: The New Jersey Devils finished last in a highly-competitive Atlantic Divison last season, and their off-season actions prove that they don't plan to be at the bottom again. They picked up several big-name players, including former Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider in an NHL Draft day trade, free agent Jaromir Jagr, former New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe and former Montreal Canadien RW Michael Ryder. They also re-signed Danius Zubrus and Patrick Elias, two key players in Coach DeBoer's system. Even with the highly publicized departure of Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils look strong for the 2013-14 season, and if things fall right, they might not miss their one-time superstar.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
At age 37, Elias is still proving why he's one of the best forwards in the NHL. He led the Devils last season in points (36) and assists (22). He has been a model of consistency in more ways than one, and has spent his entire NHL career with the Devils and is looking to continue to improve upon his last two seasons' numbers. He will also serve as a leader to the new faces and younger talent on the Devils team as they move to the newly-designed Metropolitan Division.
Goaltending duo Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur
One is an NHL legend, the other is a young star coming into his own as an NHL regular. One is 41, the other is 27. By picking up Schneider, the Devils made a bold statement that they are ready to usher in the next heir to their goaltending throne whenever Brodeur decides to retire. However, Marty is showing few signs of age as once again, he remains at or near the top of his game. With a .901 save percentage, an impressive three points on the season (one goal, two assists) and a year remaining on his contract, Brodeur isn't done yet. It'll be interesting to see how the two goaltenders split playing time or if one goalie emerges as the true starter--whether it's the team legend or the fresh face.