As every NHL workforce is eradicated from playoff rivalry — both mathematically or by dropping within the postseason — we’ll check out why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell brief in 2017-18, together with three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction on what 2018-19 will maintain.
What went improper
It is laborious to search out fault within the New Jersey Devils‘ 2017-18 marketing campaign; with little expectations, this group arrived forward of schedule. From their sizzling begin (9-2-Zero to start out the season) to gritty end (a 10-2-1 run to clinch the workforce’s first playoff berth since 2012), few may have predicted this from a workforce that positioned final within the Japanese Convention final season with 28 wins and 70 factors.
In fact, the Devils had been willed by Taylor Corridor, who emphatically made his MVP case by scoring 93 factors — 41 greater than his closest teammate. That implies depth scoring was a problem, and it is true. Although No. 1 decide Nico Hischier quietly put collectively a terrific rookie season (second on the workforce, with 52 factors) not sufficient forwards put up related manufacturing, which pressured GM Ray Shero to make strikes on the commerce deadline. It did not assist that Marcus Johansson performed solely 29 video games.
Defensive depth appeared flimsy at occasions in opposition to the high-octane Tampa Bay Lightning, however one thing was extra evident: the Devils could not match the physicality of the No. 1 seed. In the meantime, one in every of New Jersey’s strengths all season, the penalty kill, grew to become kryptonite (Tampa Bay transformed on TK of its TK power-play alternatives).
And the Devils’ personal energy play did not present up (TK of TK). The Devils could have arrived early, however they don’t seem to be fairly there but.