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5 Things That Went Wrong

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i think a full season of elias-zajac-clarkson could be a good line for all three.

 

gionta SUCKS. playing him on the PK is brutal. he was outmuscled again last night against a disinterested pens team and missed a clear and was out of position on the PK for no other reason than his size and lack of reach. if they insist on him playing, then it's gotta be strict 4th line sheltered minutes and ZERO PK time.

Agreed on Gionta. Josefson would be much better in that role solely because he's not a freaking midget (his above average D doesn't hurt either). 

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Agreed on Gionta. Josefson would be much better in that role solely because he's not a freaking midget (his above average D doesn't hurt either). 

 

josefson on the PK, yes. in a 4th line role, he's a bit of a waste but the devils do a decent job of giving their 4th line minutes.

 

ideally, next year's 3rd line is henrique-josefson-zubrus

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Tri alluded to this before it all went to hell, but sentimentality hurt this team. We kept trying to ride guys who weren't succeeding based on past success. If we'd benched Sal, paid for a new goalie in the offseason, broken up CBGB, traded a guy like Greene for a forward, or any number of other painful, but eventually smart moves, this would have been a better season. I tried to defend some of that stuff, but it definitely hurt. I don't know that any of it matters -- they couldn't win without Marty, and when Marty came back, he was a shell of himself, so they couldn't win with him, and just when they looked like they might steal enough points to sneak in, Kovy went down. I doubt any fixes solve those problems, but if we want to get back to being a contender rather than a team that sneaks in, we have to make the little fixes.

Traded Greene? LOL  he was one of our best skaters and defenders period. not a smart move at all

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josefson on the PK, yes. in a 4th line role, he's a bit of a waste but the devils do a decent job of giving their 4th line minutes.

 

ideally, next year's 3rd line is henrique-josefson-zubrus

Haha yeah, the PK is what I was referring to. JJ should play close to 13-14 minutes a night when you factor in ES and PK time. Unfortunately, I doubt he cracks 35 points, but I still think he'll end up more valuable than Henrique. 

 

(braces for the flaming I'm about to encounter!)

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i think a full season of elias-zajac-clarkson could be a good line for all three.

 

gionta SUCKS. playing him on the PK is brutal. he was outmuscled again last night against a disinterested pens team and missed a clear and was out of position on the PK for no other reason than his size and lack of reach. if they insist on him playing, then it's gotta be strict 4th line sheltered minutes and ZERO PK time.

 

I don't think Elias and Zajac's style of play mesh.  They are too similiar.     It is possible that Elias and Clarkson are elsewhere next year.

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Tri alluded to this before it all went to hell, but sentimentality hurt this team. We kept trying to ride guys who weren't succeeding based on past success. If we'd benched Sal, paid for a new goalie in the offseason, broken up CBGB, traded a guy like Greene for a forward, or any number of other painful, but eventually smart moves, this would have been a better season. I tried to defend some of that stuff, but it definitely hurt. I don't know that any of it matters -- they couldn't win without Marty, and when Marty came back, he was a shell of himself, so they couldn't win with him, and just when they looked like they might steal enough points to sneak in, Kovy went down. I doubt any fixes solve those problems, but if we want to get back to being a contender rather than a team that sneaks in, we have to make the little fixes.

You do realize that when Marty came back and before Kovy went down Devils won 2 games out of 2?

Edited by PacificDevil

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I'll say it again, the problem was scoring goals.  Devils were sixth worst in the league in that department, and could be worse but for goals being scored in meaningless games.  The Devils actually gave up fewer goals than the Isles who we're all told were getting incredible goaltending from Nabakov.  You can point to save percentage all you want, what matters is the number of goals that go in the net, and when it came to that, the Devils weren't that bad, and that includes having awful play from Volchenkov and Salvador, and the nightly brain farts from Larsson.  I agree that the day of reckoning for goaltending is coming soon, but the Devils can be good enough next year even with the quality of goaltending they got this year.  Want to upgrade from Hedberg?  That's fine, but don't pretend for a second that it will make the team all that much better.

 

This is why I feel the most important thing this offseason is for the Devils to get a dynamic forward in the draft, and why I would be ecstatic if the Devils could manage to snag someone like Barkov.  While I wouldn't quite go the Ditka route to do it, there is very little I wouldn't pay to move up far enough for that to happen.

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I'll say it again, the problem was scoring goals.  Devils were sixth worst in the league in that department, and could be worse but for goals being scored in meaningless games.  The Devils actually gave up fewer goals than the Isles who we're all told were getting incredible goaltending from Nabakov.  You can point to save percentage all you want, what matters is the number of goals that go in the net, and when it came to that, the Devils weren't that bad, and that includes having awful play from Volchenkov and Salvador, and the nightly brain farts from Larsson.  I agree that the day of reckoning for goaltending is coming soon, but the Devils can be good enough next year even with the quality of goaltending they got this year.  Want to upgrade from Hedberg?  That's fine, but don't pretend for a second that it will make the team all that much better.

 

This is why I feel the most important thing this offseason is for the Devils to get a dynamic forward in the draft, and why I would be ecstatic if the Devils could manage to snag someone like Barkov.  While I wouldn't quite go the Ditka route to do it, there is very little I wouldn't pay to move up far enough for that to happen.

 

Everyone knows the Devils had problems scoring goals, but the goalies also had problems keeping the other team from scoring.  The Devils managed to keep the shot counts very low in a number of games...their goalies got a LOT of propping up from the team. 

 

How you do you know an upgrade from Hedberg won't make much difference?  Hedberg going forward flat-out looks like a guy who will not be able to step in for Brodeur if he falters or is injured.  You don't think a guy who stops a lot more than 88.6% of the shots coming his way can make a difference?  Think maybe if Hedberg was playing considerably better, that the Devils wouldn't have felt forced to start Brodeur game after game after game, when it was clear that he wasn't providing much more than average goaltending for a team that clearly needed to keep the opposing teams' goal totals down as much as possible? 

 

An upgrade over Hedberg will give the Devils something they didn't have this season:  a viable option.  Next year's "1B" goalie may be asked to pull a Clemmensen '08-'09, maybe even be asked to start 50 or more games...there's no guarantee Marty will be either effective or healthy next year.  Clemmensen clearly wasn't Brodeur, but managed to put up Brodeur-like numbers (before Marty's decline) for an extended stretch.  Hedberg couldn't even match this season's declining Brodeur's numbers.  

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Everyone knows the Devils had problems scoring goals, but the goalies also had problems keeping the other team from scoring.  The Devils managed to keep the shot counts very low in a number of games...their goalies got a LOT of propping up from the team. 

 

How you do you know an upgrade from Hedberg won't make much difference?  Hedberg going forward flat-out looks like a guy who will not be able to step in for Brodeur if he falters or is injured.  You don't think a guy who stops a lot more than 88.6% of the shots coming his way can make a difference?  Think maybe if Hedberg was playing considerably better, that the Devils wouldn't have felt forced to start Brodeur game after game after game, when it was clear that he wasn't providing much more than average goaltending for a team that clearly needed to keep the opposing teams' goal totals down as much as possible? 

 

An upgrade over Hedberg will give the Devils something they didn't have this season:  a viable option.  Next year's "1B" goalie may be asked to pull a Clemmensen '08-'09, maybe even be asked to start 50 or more games...there's no guarantee Marty will be either effective or healthy next year.  Clemmensen clearly wasn't Brodeur, but managed to put up Brodeur-like numbers (before Marty's decline) for an extended stretch.  Hedberg couldn't even match this season's declining Brodeur's numbers.  

 

The actual goals against -- the stat that actually matters -- doesn't back up what you're saying.  The goals against is even more meaningful considering the lackluster play of one third of your defensive corps on a night in, night out basis.   

 

The back up goalie, unless it's Corey Schneider, is not going to make a team significantly better, and certainly won't be enough of an improvement to put the Devils back into being a consistent competitor.  Even assuming that Hedberg was as bad as people say, it's not like signficantly better back up goalies are just waiting for a phone call.  Improve on Hedberg if you want.  Just don't be surprised if the wins and losses are about the same because the Devils are struggling to score 3 goals.

 

What very few people are disputing is that this team at least makes the playoffs if Kovalchuk didn't get hurt.  The logical deduction is that the biggest problem was scoring goals, not the goaltending and certainly not save percentage.

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To sum up the article and answer the question of "what went wrong", the answer is simple: EVERYTHING!

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The actual goals against -- the stat that actually matters -- doesn't back up what you're saying.  The goals against is even more meaningful considering the lackluster play of one third of your defensive corps on a night in, night out basis.   

 

The back up goalie, unless it's Corey Schneider, is not going to make a team significantly better, and certainly won't be enough of an improvement to put the Devils back into being a consistent competitor.  Even assuming that Hedberg was as bad as people say, it's not like signficantly better back up goalies are just waiting for a phone call.  Improve on Hedberg if you want.  Just don't be surprised if the wins and losses are about the same because the Devils are struggling to score 3 goals.

 

What very few people are disputing is that this team at least makes the playoffs if Kovalchuk didn't get hurt.  The logical deduction is that the biggest problem was scoring goals, not the goaltending and certainly not save percentage.

 

You are not reading what I am saying.

 

There is a VERY good chance that the "back-up" is going to be asked to be more than a 20-25 GP back-up next season.  He could very well be the starter for an extended stretch.  "Even assuming that Hedberg was as bad as people say"?  It doesn't get much worse than .886 in today's NHL...he WAS bad.  Marty and Hedberg combined for .895.  Also pretty bad. 

 

I never implied the mediocre-to-poor puck-stopping abilities was the one and only reason the Devils didn't make the playoffs, but it definitely factored in.    

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You are not reading what I am saying.

 

There is a VERY good chance that the "back-up" is going to be asked to be more than a 20-25 GP back-up next season.  He could very well be the starter for an extended stretch.  "Even assuming that Hedberg was as bad as people say"?  It doesn't get much worse than .886 in today's NHL...he WAS bad.  Marty and Hedberg combined for .895.  Also pretty bad. 

 

I never implied the mediocre-to-poor puck-stopping abilities was the one and only reason the Devils didn't make the playoffs, but it definitely factored in.    

 

Fine then.  What significant improvement is out there that is in the Devils price range so far as salary and/or compensation going the other way?   Not much.  And that's not even taking into account opportunity costs.  Wedgewood isn't ready, and I woudln't expect any miracles out of Kinkaid.

 

And again, goals alllowed -- you know the thing that actually goes up on the score board -- wasn't bad.  Save percentage can be intepreted to mean whatever you want it to mean.  Goals against cannot. 

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Fine then.  What significant improvement is out there that is in the Devils price range so far as salary and/or compensation going the other way?   Not much.  And that's not even taking into account opportunity costs.  Wedgewood isn't ready, and I woudln't expect any miracles out of Kinkaid.

 

And again, goals alllowed -- you know the thing that actually goes up on the score board -- wasn't bad.  Save percentage can be intepreted to mean whatever you want it to mean.  Goals against cannot. 

 

Are you serious? The Devils allowed the lowest shots in the NHL this season. That has nothing to do with the goaltending. The Devils have the third worst save percentage in the NHL. That mostly has everything to do with goaltending.  I don't get how you can say what you said above. I'd say it is more the other way around.

 

Look around the league and you won't see anything weirder than that contrast between the low amount of shots and awful save percentage. For example the Leafs have given up 4 more goals than the Devils this year in the same amount of games. They have also given up over 400+ more shots. The team has a save percentage 27 points higher than the Devils. Not for one second could you even try make a case that the Devils had better goaltending than the Leafs this year and that James Reimer wasn't a sh!tload better than Brodeur or Hedberg.

 

Like Tri has said before, the Devils as a team be it their defensive play or their offense (being a good defense) gave Brodeur and Hedberg the opportunity to be mediocre at best this year and probably still be a playoff team. 

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Are you serious? The Devils allowed the lowest shots in the NHL this season. That has nothing to do with the goaltending. The Devils have the third worst save percentage in the NHL. That mostly has everything to do with goaltending.  I don't get how you can say what you said above. I'd say it is more the other way around.

 

Look around the league and you won't see anything weirder than that contrast between the low amount of shots and awful save percentage. For example the Leafs have given up 4 more goals than the Devils this year in the same amount of games. They have also given up over 400+ more shots. The team has a save percentage 27 points higher than the Devils. Not for one second could you even try make a case that the Devils had better goaltending than the Leafs this year and that James Reimer wasn't a sh!tload better than Brodeur or Hedberg.

 

Like Tri has said before, the Devils as a team be it their defensive play or their offense (being a good defense) gave Brodeur and Hedberg the opportunity to be mediocre at best this year and probably still be a playoff team. 

 

If the save percentage were what you claim it could be with an average goalie, the Devils would probably have the lowest goals against in the league, and STILL would have a negative goals against/goals for differential. 

 

And by the same token, if the Devils could have been marginally better at actually scoring goals, there is no doubt this would be a playoff team, and perhaps a fairly high seeded one at that. 

 

It's also hilarious that people are talking about the great defensive help that Marty and Hedberg got, when those very people would not stop complaining that Salvador was not an NHL defenseman and that Volchenkhov was terrible. 

 

Like I say though, go get a better goalie.  When the team can't score goals, don't be suprised that we're having the same discussion next time around.

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Are you serious? The Devils allowed the lowest shots in the NHL this season. That has nothing to do with the goaltending. The Devils have the third worst save percentage in the NHL. That mostly has everything to do with goaltending.  I don't get how you can say what you said above. I'd say it is more the other way around.

 

Look around the league and you won't see anything weirder than that contrast between the low amount of shots and awful save percentage. For example the Leafs have given up 4 more goals than the Devils this year in the same amount of games. They have also given up over 400+ more shots. The team has a save percentage 27 points higher than the Devils. Not for one second could you even try make a case that the Devils had better goaltending than the Leafs this year and that James Reimer wasn't a sh!tload better than Brodeur or Hedberg.

 

Like Tri has said before, the Devils as a team be it their defensive play or their offense (being a good defense) gave Brodeur and Hedberg the opportunity to be mediocre at best this year and probably still be a playoff team. 

 

Thank you...Daniel is lost on this one.

 

Daniel, Marty and Moose allowed 112 goals on 1068 shots between them (.895 save%). 

 

If they had stopped:

 

.905 (still not very good):  101 goals (11 less goals)

.910 (at least respectable):  96 goals (16 less goals)

.915 (pretty good):  90 goals (22 less goals)

 

At the very least, I'm going to say at .905, they're at least knocking on the 8th seed door.  .910 or better gets the Devils in, and .910 isn't anything to write home about...Pekka Rinne's .910 ranked him 23rd in the league.  Brodeur ranks 35th and Hedberg 43rd. 

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A few quick things:

 

- No one is saying the Devils are missing the playoffs only because of goaltending. That be silly when you are talking about an offense that will probably end up 3rd worst in the league. But I'll take my chances with the offense improving over bringing back a 41 and 40-year-old goaltending tandem next year. And Marty has been a below average to bottom of the league goalie for 3 seasons now. And for everyone clamoring for Lou to fix things offensively, well then you equally have to be wanting him to do something with the goalies. The bottom line is you can make the playoffs sometimes by having good offense and bad goaltending like...the Isles or by having a terrible offense and great goaltending...like the Sens. It happens but isn't close to a guarantee. Well you can't make the playoffs by being bad at both...and that's what happened this season.

 

- The Devils defense was for the most part very solid. You can still be pissed at Salvador and Volchenkov for being the weak links most of the year. One bad player isn't going to cause 5 more shots a game or anything close to that. Giving up the lowest amount of shots is about the entire team and not the 6 defensemen. It's about the fore-check and the system the entire team plays. It's about keeping the other team in their own zone for 45 seconds at a time. Maybe a great scoring chance doesn't come about, but it also keeps the other team far away from your side, which is very valuable. 

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I think our D is very good and has more promise.

 

I would drop Tallinder and get Larsson in full-time.   We need to keep Harrold especially if we are losing Zidlicky.

 

Sal is great, but A-Train is starting to look slow.

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- No one is saying the Devils are missing the playoffs only because of goaltending.

 

One of many factors.  Problem is the Devils couldn't score enough to bail out their goalies, and their goalies couldn't stop the puck enough to bail out the team's lack of scoring.  At least Marty and Moose's GAA benefitted from the low shots totals coming their way. 

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The actual goals against -- the stat that actually matters -- doesn't back up what you're saying.  The goals against is even more meaningful considering the lackluster play of one third of your defensive corps on a night in, night out basis.   

 

The back up goalie, unless it's Corey Schneider, is not going to make a team significantly better, and certainly won't be enough of an improvement to put the Devils back into being a consistent competitor.  Even assuming that Hedberg was as bad as people say, it's not like signficantly better back up goalies are just waiting for a phone call.  Improve on Hedberg if you want.  Just don't be surprised if the wins and losses are about the same because the Devils are struggling to score 3 goals.

 

What very few people are disputing is that this team at least makes the playoffs if Kovalchuk didn't get hurt.  The logical deduction is that the biggest problem was scoring goals, not the goaltending and certainly not save percentage.

 

The backup goalie is infinitely more important to the Devils next year than it is any other team.  For the simple reason that Marty's 41, and not only can't he play as many games as he did in the past but he's almost 100% going to be on the shelf for an extended period at some point.  And having a backup goalie with an .885 save percentage that couldn't get the job done in an extended stretch this year is asking for trouble again next year.

 

I'm in the minority that I agree with your point, inasmuch as I'd put scoring higher on the priority list than goaltending.  I don't think the scoring issues get magically solved just by having a healthy Kovy and hoping everyone else turns it around.  There's a reason everyone else crapped the bed this year, it's called they're secondary scorers and there was only 'one' primary scorer to take the pressure off.  When that one guy went out they collectively imploded.

 

And even if you do want to pinpoint save percentage as a problem (my issue is people are treating it as 'the' problem), well upgrade over the guy with an .885 save percentage before you upgrade over the one with a .905 and a 2.1 GAA.  Yes goaltending as currently constituted is going to be an issue next year for various reasons but you're not throwing Marty 'and' Moose out in the same offseason and you're not throwing Marty out at all this offseason.

Edited by NJDevs4978

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The backup goalie is infinitely more important to the Devils next year than it is any other team.  For the simple reason that Marty's 41, and not only can't he play as many games as he did in the past but he's almost 100% going to be on the shelf for an extended period at some point.  And having a backup goalie with an .885 save percentage that couldn't get the job done in an extended stretch this year is asking for trouble again next year.

 

I'm in the minority that I agree with your point, inasmuch as I'd put scoring higher on the priority list than goaltending.  And even if you do want to pinpoint save percentage as a problem, well upgrade over the guy with an .885 save percentage before you upgrade over the one with a .905 and a 2.1 GAA.  Yes goaltending as currently constituted is going to be an issue next year for various reasons but you're not throwing Marty 'and' Moose out in the same offseason and you're not throwing Marty out at all this offseason.

 

This presumes that you can get a goalie that will in fact have that save percentage on this team.  Or more precisely that because a goalie had this save percentage on one team, there's a good chance he'll have it on another team. ( I'll admit though that I'm very stubborn in my belief that shots on goal is one of the more overrated stats out there.)

 

I'm all for improving at any position if the price is right.  And I'm not saying that Marty and Hedberg make me all that confident.  Just don't expect any miracles even if you could land a guy like Reimer.  By contrast a full season of a healthy Kovalchuk and Zubrus, improvement from Larsson and Zajac, will end up in a much improved team when it comes to wins.

 

But it's difficult to overstate the importance of landing a forward that can score in this draft.  If the Devils miss, you better hope that Boucher and Severson are better than people expect and that Merrill is as good as he's supposed to be.  If not, we could be in Islanders of the past seven years territory. 

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Traded Greene? LOL  he was one of our best skaters and defenders period. not a smart move at all

 

No question, it would have hurt, but IMO he wasn't a difference maker, and with Fayne, Tally, and Larsson on the team playing similar games, you can live without him. He was one of the few guys who would have gotten anything on the open market, and, as we saw, this team clearly needed a forward more than 8 d, even if we had to give up one of the better ones.

You do realize that when Marty came back and before Kovy went down Devils won 2 games out of 2?

Small sample size, and since Marty wasn't exactly good after those couple games, I still think they would have lost a ton even with Kovy. 

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This presumes that you can get a goalie that will in fact have that save percentage on this team.  Or more precisely that because a goalie had this save percentage on one team, there's a good chance he'll have it on another team. ( I'll admit though that I'm very stubborn in my belief that shots on goal is one of the more overrated stats out there.)

 

I'm all for improving at any position if the price is right.  And I'm not saying that Marty and Hedberg make me all that confident.  Just don't expect any miracles even if you could land a guy like Reimer.  By contrast a full season of a healthy Kovalchuk and Zubrus, improvement from Larsson and Zajac, will end up in a much improved team when it comes to wins.

 

But it's difficult to overstate the importance of landing a forward that can score in this draft.  If the Devils miss, you better hope that Boucher and Severson are better than people expect and that Merrill is as good as he's supposed to be.  If not, we could be in Islanders of the past seven years territory. 

 

If you could land Reimer, everything would be solved goalie-wise. Problem is it'd take Larsson+++ and they wouldn't trade him anyway 

Edited by DH26

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Depends on how the playoffs pan out and if they (foolishly) swing for a big time starter.

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