NHL Season Preview: Devils

Martin Brodeur is one of the greatest goaltenders of all time, but he isn't getting any younger.

The Devils were, arguably, the pre-eminent franchise in professional sports at a point in time.
 
Not anymore.
 
The organization that won three Cups in nine years looks to be an old, slow, ill-fitting collection of athletes. And then, there’s the little matter of being able to lock up left wing Zach Parise to a long-term contract. Parise, who was a restricted free agent last summer, signed a one-year, $6 million deal in July. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.   
 
FORWARDS

The word that best describes the Devils forward units is thin. Yes, Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk are unquestionably stars, while Travis Zajac, Patrik Elias and David Clarkson are solid players.
 
Then, uncertainty.
 
Are Jacob Josefson, Adam Henrique and Nick Palmieri ready to play second- and third-line roles? Zajac will miss at least the first month as he recuperates from Achilles surgery. Who will fill in for him on the top line? Can Dainius Zubrus and Mattias Tedenby provide enough secondary offense?
 
The Devils 2.08 goals per game ranked last in the league, while their power play was 28th out of 30.
 
DEFENSE 

In the Devils’ two decades of dominance, defense was a position strength. It wasn’t last year and doesn’t appear to be one this year. Fourth-overall pick Adam Larsson impressed in training camp and in the exhibition season. The 18-year-old Larsson, who played for Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League last season, won admirers in Parise and Kovalchuk for his ability to run the power play.
 
After Larsson, there’s not a whole lot to be excited about.
 
Anton Volchenkov is one of the league’s better hitters and shot-blockers on the blueline, but his salary (five years and $21.25 million remaining) screams for a franchise defenseman instead of solid piece. Andy Greene and Henrik Tallinder are fifth and sixth defensemen on most teams.
 
GOALTENDING

A question mark. Martin Brodeur is 39 years old and Johan Hedberg is 38. Both showed their age during the preseason. Moreover, both are unrestricted free agents after this season. Is Jeff Frazee the long-term answer in goal? If not, is there a young, NHL-ready goaltender in the Devils system?
 
PREDICTION:  Last season was the first since 1995-96 that the Devils did not make the playoffs. It appears that the Devils will miss the playoffs this season because of the plethora of on-and-off-ice issues facing the organization. The 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons marked the last time the Devils did not qualify for the playoffs in consecutive years.    


Follow NHL writer Denis Gorman on Twitter
@DenisGorman for coverage of all three area teams.
 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.