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SMantzas

What are the Odds the Devils Improve This Year?

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Obviously it's impossible to predict playoff success because let's face it, the postseason is a total crapshoot. The regular season is a different animal (as there is a much larger sample size). What do you think the chances of the Devils improving from 102 points and 6th seed are assuming they meet Bettman's Nov. 2 deadline? Let's dive deeper into the facts:

What is working against NJ:

1. The loss of Zach Parise- Right away, Parise's absence will take away a good chunk of offense (31 g 69 pts). However, it will be his hustle, boardplay and tenacity that the Devils will miss most

2. Loss of Alexei Ponikarovsky (but more importantly: DEPTH)- We all know how balanced our offense was in the playoffs. When you can roll out a 3rd line of Poni-Henrique-Clarkson, I'd say you're doing well. The fact that they replaced Sykora's corpse and Poni with Bobby Butler is a tad troubling

3. Historically good PK from last year

4. The aging of Brodeur, Hedberg, ELIAS, Zidlicky and Salvador

5. Shootout Record

What is working in favor of NJ:

1. A full season with Deboer at the helm- Last season, it took the Devils a few months to get acclimated with Pete's up tempo system. Now, everyone (except Tedenby lolz) is familiar with what he wants

2. Improved PP?- I put this as a question mark because I have no idea what Shaw is going to do. What encourages me is that during his time in San Jose, their pp was always in the top 5. While it's true that NJ doesnt have a Joe Thornton, San Jose doesnt have an Ilya Kovalchuk. It will be interesting to see how he handles IK

3. The maturation of the youngsters- Will Larsson, Henrique and Josefson hit a sophomore slump, or will they build off their impressive rookie years? I'd bet they take the step forward.

4. Travis Zajac for a full year

Thoughts?

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Sadly, I think we won't achieve anywhere close to the level of success we had last year, both in the regular season as well as the playoffs. Parise, Poni, Brodeur aging and other intangibles are huge losses, and we really have not taken steps to fill those issues. I think Henrique will continue to develop, but I don't think he'll do better this year than he did last. Larsson will be better, but is still several years away from being the elite-level talent that he needs to be in order to be a real game changer. Josefson and Tedenby are, in my opinion, non-factors until they prove otherwise.

All in all, I think we'll be lucky to crack 92-95 points, and maybe squeak into the playoffs.

Edited by Amberite

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I say the regular season performance will be the same. This team didn't click until we had a healthy Zajac back. If Josefson can stay healthy and Henrique playing like the way he is there is no reason why we couldn't put up the same numbers. Our defense looks amazing right now and that will be our real strength. We were not that good in the first half last year. So I am optimistic...and who knows how Butler will play. The kid has loads of talent so lets see if he can utilize it the right way.

This lineup has potential.

Kovalchuk Henrique Zajac

Butler Elias Zubrus

Tedenby/Sykora Josefson Clarkson

CBGB

Tallinder Salvador

Greene Fayne

ZIdlicky Volchenkov

Larsson Harrold

Still need to trade a defenseman to improve our top 9.

Edited by Zubie#8

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I think they take a step back, but a small step. 95-98 points and a 6 or 7 seed. The loss of Parise is huge and will be difficult to overcome, especially early in the year. Hopefully, having Zajac healthy for a full year will mitigate some of that, and Butler can turn into the next Grabner, but a lot of things broke out way last year that likely won't happen again.

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A trade of a defenseman is a foregone conclusion, so there's an incomplete before that happens.

All things being equal though, we're definitely in a worse position than last year for the playoffs since there was only subtraction since then. Assuming that the fourth line can perform about as well as it did in the playoffs, we might be better this regular season than last even without Parise.

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Assuming there is a shortened season, one thing that worries me is Brodeur's slow starts. Even when he was rattling off 45 win seasons, Marty wad terrible in October

Edited by SMantzas

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I am very interested on how our powerplay will look with a new coach and no Parise controlling the play behind the goal line or trying to pound the puck in from the side. That was so annoying.

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I'm predicting 82-0 record and Kovy putting up 114G/146A.

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Big omission by everyone thus far is the addition of Zidlicky. Until he was crunched in the Flyer series by Simmonds, he was what this team was missing the past six years in the playoffs. A defensemen who can pass his way out of trouble and run the power play. At the same time, he is much better in his own end than he is given credit for. Over the course of the season, he is going to make a big difference.

If our fourth line can at the least, go even with other teams fourth lines, that is a step in the right direction. I don't see why they wouldn't be able to do that. Deboer had no fear tossing them out there against other teams non fourth lines, although sometimes it was because of icing calls. I remember they ended up seeing a ton of Gabby/Richards in the playoffs. Keep in mind, Gabby only had one goal. In fact, they were out there against Richards in the Game 5 GWG at the Garden. Except Kovy was in place of Bernier, no big deal.

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Big omission by everyone thus far is the addition of Zidlicky. Until he was crunched in the Flyer series by Simmonds, he was what this team was missing the past six years in the playoffs. A defensemen who can pass his way out of trouble and run the power play. At the same time, he is much better in his own end than he is given credit for. Over the course of the season, he is going to make a big difference.

If our fourth line can at the least, go even with other teams fourth lines, that is a step in the right direction. I don't see why they wouldn't be able to do that. Deboer had no fear tossing them out there against other teams non fourth lines, although sometimes it was because of icing calls. I remember they ended up seeing a ton of Gabby/Richards in the playoffs. Keep in mind, Gabby only had one goal. In fact, they were out there against Richards in the Game 5 GWG at the Garden. Except Kovy was in place of Bernier, no big deal.

Gaborik was essentially playing with one arm during the playoffs. I expect him to be better this year.

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Gaborik was essentially playing with one arm during the playoffs. I expect him to be better this year.

Still, Richards didn't light the world on fire against those guys either.

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point 3 is the most important to me... The maturation of Larsson, Henrique, josefson could be a big factor in devils succes. I see Larsson having a monster year and being our first defenceman all season long, I see Henrique continuing to clucht at the right time and have a good year ( a little bit better than last year) Finally if josefson can improve in strenght during the year i think he could become a top 6 or at least a top 9 player (dept) for this team.é Honestly if he can find he scoring touch he can help us big time. Finally the X factor... Bobby butler. Let face it the guy have skills,he can score and if he can answer to the expectation Lou put in him (top 6 forward right away) we will be fine.

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If the season is 60 games there is a lot more room for luck. They will probably be an average or slightly above average possession team with an 70% chance at making the playoffs.

Edited by Jas0nMacIsaac

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The Devils have a 15% probability of being better this year.

The only two things that might make them better I think is

1. If they really did find lightning in a bottle in that 4th line and they perform well over a full season

2. Larsson takes a massive step forward

Every other thing points to the team being worse next year imo.

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We can do better!

98-0

I dunno if a step back is an absolute guarantee. I keep thinking back to the 2nd half of 10-11 where they had that amazing run without Zach. That is hard to do over a whole season obviously, but a large portion of this team have played without Zach for a long stretch. I think more important is how Marty is during the first half of the season. I think we go as he goes.

Im not as worried about the loss of Zach's production. I think Henrique can and will step into that role + I expect to see more output by guys like Josefson. I think Marty is the most important piece.

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I like our chances for improvement. The CBGB line is a confident line now and should add some unexpected scoring. I'm praying for Teddy to come around and barring any major injuries the chemistry seems to be there under Petey D. They shocked me last year and now I expect success this year.

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I like our chances for improvement. The CBGB line is a confident line now and should add some unexpected scoring. I'm praying for Teddy to come around and barring any major injuries the chemistry seems to be there under Petey D. They shocked me last year and now I expect success this year.

I don't see anything out of Tedenby that predicts a breakout year unless his sh% is around 20% like Hudler.

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It should be interesting to see how the two new assistant coaches change things.I also have little faith in Tedenby having a break out year (or career).

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I think they take a step back, but a small step. 95-98 points and a 6 or 7 seed. The loss of Parise is huge and will be difficult to overcome, especially early in the year. Hopefully, having Zajac healthy for a full year will mitigate some of that, and Butler can turn into the next Grabner, but a lot of things broke out way last year that likely won't happen again.

I agree with this. Solid 95-98 pt season. (Teddy will be a good contributor. You guys forget he was lined with David hog-the-puck Clarkson every time he played last year. Put Teddy with some familiar and un-selfish guys and give him a chance. Hes got tons of speed and ability)

OP, another thing positive for the devils this year is that we will actually have a good 4th line for the first time in years.

Edited by devlman

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I agree with this. Solid 95-98 pt season. (Teddy will be a good contributor. You guys forget he was lined with David hog-the-puck Clarkson every time he played last year. Put Teddy with some familiar and un-selfish guys and give him a chance. Hes got tons of speed and ability)

OP, another thing positive for the devils this year is that we will actually have a good 4th line for the first time in years.

Teddy's problem, at least as I see it, is that he's still not adjusted to the NA hockey style. We all know his calling card is his good hands and speed. He attempts to utilize those in a way that would have worked well if he had more room by driving wide and trying to protect the puck while circling the net. I think he needs to forget the boards, he's not big enough or strong enough for that, clearly. He need to work on being Johnny on the spot in the crease. If he can use his quick, shifty moves to beat defenders to the front of the net, he'll put a ton of rubber in the net. Well, maybe not a ton, but he could be a 20-25 goal player.

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Teddy's problem, at least as I see it, is that he's still not adjusted to the NA hockey style. We all know his calling card is his good hands and speed. He attempts to utilize those in a way that would have worked well if he had more room by driving wide and trying to protect the puck while circling the net. I think he needs to forget the boards, he's not big enough or strong enough for that, clearly. He need to work on being Johnny on the spot in the crease. If he can use his quick, shifty moves to beat defenders to the front of the net, he'll put a ton of rubber in the net. Well, maybe not a ton, but he could be a 20-25 goal player.

I agree....and hopefully he's learned a lot of this in Albany last year.

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Idk what to think. Losing zach is huge but in 10-11 we didn't have him and we did amazing the second half the year. Last season we didn't have Travis and we did great too. So maybe having Travis back wiill keep us where we are now. I still think our depth is good. I think butler will play with us next year and we will sign Sykora. Maybe we trade a d-man and get a top 6 forward. I think the team will be just fine. Pete's system works for our team and I'm sure Lou will make a few traded during the season so we'll be fine. I also think getting so close to winning it all will drive all the guys that played last year. We will be hungry to get to the next level and maybe a short season is what wee need

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