Conference Outlook: New Jersey Devils

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on http://broadstreetbully.net.]

It’s that time of the year to take a subjective look at the teams that share the Metropolitan division with the Flyers.  As a Flyers fan, you’re aware of what the Flyers have done to make the team better this offseason.  But you may not know what other teams have done.  So, I went through the past articles from this offseason for every Metropolitan team and compiled a list of the moves that I think will affect the division standings the most this upcoming season.

Every team has signings and releases that they go through every offseason.  I’m not worried too much about every move the team has made since the season ended.  I focused more on the moves that I think will have the biggest impact on the team’s play next season.

After the jump, we look at the New Jersey Devils.

Out of all the moves the Devils made this season, I think these are the ones that will have the biggest effect on the division:

The Devils lost a major piece of their defense when Bryce Salvador announced his retirement.  A stalwart on the blueline, the Devils lost a solid defenseman who played responsibly.  It remains to be seen if the Devils can adequately replace what Salvador brought to the defense corps, including the veteran leadership.

With one defenseman retiring, the Devils made sure to lock up Adam Larsson. Larsson is one the Devils successful draft picks who has really come into his own the past few years.  Larsson will have the chance to become the Devils top defenseman with his new six year contract. And the Devils have already shown the faith that he will be resigning him.

On the offensive side of the puck, Kyle Palmieri was traded to the Devils from the Ducks.  The Devils get a reliable forward who can help bolster their offense.  Which is good because they placed Danius Zubrus on waivers to buy him out.  One door closes for the Devils in getting rid of Zubrus, but another one opens in picking up Palmieri.

Final overview: The Devils finished seven points ahead of the Hurricanes for seventh in the division.  If they can play a little more consistently this year, and actually score some goals to help Corey Schneider in net, then the Devils might be able to pickup some extra points.

Will they challenge for a playoff spot?  I don’t think so.

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