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

TIPS: How to take great photos during 'Manhattanhenge'

Grab your camera and make the perfect picture this Saturday.

National

Seinfeld emoji cound be available next week

Get your puffy shirts and your marble rye ready, America. Seinfeld emoji could become available as early as next week.

Local

Thousands come to pay respects to fallen NYC…

Thousands turned out to say farewell to fallen firefighter Gordon Ambelas at St. Clare’s Church in Staten Island this morning.

Local

Lawsuit against Amazon could result in refunds for…

The federal government filed a lawsuit to force Amazon to refund money spent without parental authorization.

Movies

Interview: Matt Reeves on directing 'Dawn of the…

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" director Matt Reeves discusses his love for the franchise, working with actors as apes and the weight of 3-D cameras.

Television

Final season of 'Glee' will be only 13…

The final season of "Glee" will officially be only 13 episodes, instead of the usual 22.

Entertainment

Complex characters, juicy scripts boost Netflix's Emmy nominations

The unconventional approach to TV at Netflix netted 31 Emmy nominations, a major achievement after plunging into original programing just last year.

Entertainment

Actor Josh Duhamel dons bunny suit to encourage…

The former Transformers star and husband to singer Fergie took to the Venice Beach boardwalk in California in a bright pink, Christmas-story inspired bunny suit Wednesday to help spread the…

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

MLB

A Joffrey Ballet dancer threw the most beautiful…

http://youtu.be/Hg61JOZJrYM?t=29s While asked to throw a first pitch at a baseball game can be a treacherous and/or embarrassing experience (see Cent, 50), sometimes everything can…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…

Wellbeing

Stop thinking your diabetes risk begins above a…

When it comes to diabetes research, a new study says black and Asian adults may be at risk for developing diabetes at a lower weight…

Food

Christian Siriano inspires Magnum's color-blocked dessert

Christian Siriano, chef Andrew Carmellini and Magnum team up to create "America's Most Fashionable Chocolate Dessert."