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mfitz804

End Of Season Recap - Post Your Thoughts

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  • Nico Hischier had a fine second season. Honestly, it was even better than fine. 3 goals, 3 assists less than last season, playing for the most part without Taylor Hall. And oh yeah, 14 less games. Whatever bulking up he did was successful. Where last year he would be knocked off the puck along the boards and in the corners with relative ease, he did not have that issue this year. I have no complaints about Nico. Oh, and he destroyed Nolan Patrick’s stats again.
  • Taylor Hall. What can you say other than this isn’t what most of us wanted to see following the MVP season. A previous knee surgery kept him out only 8 games. We can surmise, as such, that the current injury was more severe. As has been pointed out in other threads, July 1 is a long ways away. No clue what he will do, but if he won’t sign the extension, ship him out. 
  • Miles Wood was a huge disappointment to me. Had a great near-20 goal season last year, and I hoped he would continue developing after the holdout and new contract. But he missed some games, and his numbers weren’t incredibly divergent from last year. I’d like him not to constantly take penalties running the other team’s goalie, especially on breakaways.
  • Blake Coleman cooled off, but was one of my favorite guys to watch this season. I like him a lot, he takes a few too many penalties, but he’s a solid guy and I’m glad he is here.
  • Kyle Palmieri did Kyle Palmieri things. Scored a bunch of goals, but also had long streaks of doing nothing. Some guys are streaky, he did that again and still wound up pretty much as expected stat wise. 
  • Pavel Zacha. Don’t tell anyone I said anything good about him, but he looked good the last month or so after coming back from injury. I expect nothing from him, so a career high in goals in a career low number of games played is pretty good, I want to see him have an Adam Larsson moment when he suddenly proves he was still developing and then shows he can be a great NHL player. 
  • Our goaltending. What a weird season. First Schneider looked like he was going to have to retire because he forgot how to play. Then Kinkaid forgot how to play. Blackwood comes up, after being in the ECHL a season ago, and looks like he can play at the NHL level. But, that’s not even enough. Schneider comes back from what everyone thought was a fake injury just to send him to Binghamton, and comes back moving better, playing better, and looking like he can still compete for a starting job. I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m feeling ok about Schneider the veteran and Blackwood the young kid going into next year.
  • I was one of the people who called for bringing up the AHL guys to see what we’ve got. I wasn’t elated with what I saw. Pretty much nobody took the opportunity to prove themselves.
  • Our defense needs help. Andy Greene was better than expected, but he’s no longer a top 4 defenseman. Yakovlev needs to play. Severson and Butcher are ok. Vatanen is good when healthy. We have a lot of work to do. 
  • Best upgrade of the season: Erika replacing Deb.
  • Worst upgrade attempt of the season: Cangi’s Harry Potter/Where’s Waldo glasses. 

Draft is next, let’s hope whoever is handling the balls is kind to us.

Wait, what???

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Agree with pretty much all of that Mfitz, I’d also add Zajac was pretty decent this season. I’ll take 18 goals and 45 points from him. 

I’m also still pretty high on Bratt. 33 points in 51GP, and he looked like the most dynamic player on the team a lot of nights. Now we just need him to take the next step and prove he can play an entire season. 

Also, I miss Boyle. I hope we bring him back. 

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3 minutes ago, Nicomo said:

Agree with pretty much all of that Mfitz, I’d also add Zajac was pretty decent this season. I’ll take 18 goals and 45 points from him. 

I’m also still pretty high on Bratt. 33 points in 51GP, and he looked like the most dynamic player on the team a lot of nights. Now we just need him to take the next step and prove he can play an entire season. 

Also, I miss Boyle. I hope we bring him back. 

Agree on Zajac. He’s finally being used as he should be, I did not like him as a #1 center all those years.

Bratt had a period where he disappeared, which makes 33 points in 51 games even more impressive. As you mentioned, I am concerned about his durability going forward. 

Loved Boyle as a player and as a person. Yeah, he’s big, he’s not fast, and he’s not physical despite his size. But drop him in front of the opposing goalie and that’s quite a screen, plus he has better than average hands. I wouldn’t take a team full of players with his skill (with his personality, leadership, determination, etc., I would), but having a guy like him around is a pleasure. And 13G, 6A from a 4th liner isn’t bad, let alone in only 47 games. He ends the season 5th on our team in goals behind Palmieri, Coleman, Zajac and Hischier.

Yet while he was here, many of our board members said he was crap and he should be gone. I never shared that opinion, and I suggest there is a direct correlation between Brian Boyle detractors and people who don’t know d!ck about hockey. 

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  • I think this season has shown what a fluke last season was and that a few players excelled themselves and carried the team (Hall, I'mm looking at you!).
  • This season has been a train wreck. Injuries, inability to stick to game plans, inanbility to play for a full sixty minutes have all been factors.
  • Main factor: Lack of talent.
  • I too called for the AHL players to be given a chance and haven't been too impressed.
  • Defence: Yakolev, Carrick, Santini all seem reliable but unspectacular. Mueller & Gryba I think are useless. Butcher underperformed and has to step up again next season. Vats and Severson were pretty consistent. I'd love Severseon to have some coaching with Scott Stevens about how to be physical, especialy in the crease. Greene was Greene. Ageing but giving it 100%
  • Forwards: Nico continued to show what a good player he is. Coleman was fantastic, for most of the season. Palms and Zajac were good. Zacha came on as the season progressed. I don't think he'll ever score a ton of points but I like a lot about his play.  Wood took a step back  and is still an utter bonehead. Agostino, Gabriel, Noeson, Seney, and Stafford I couldn't care less if they play another game or not. Anderson and Bastian get an A+ for effort but still have a long way to go. McLeod was very disappointing  but he seems like a player that takes a while to acclimatise to a step up in level. Rooney is a servicable fourth liner and gives his all.
  • Goalies: I was prepared to write Schneider off but he's come back and looked pretty good. Blackwood has also looked pretty consistent. I can't see how they won't be the goalie tandem going into next season.
  • Coaches: I'm not convinced we have the coaches going forward. The defence looked like it didn't have a clue at five on five for most of the season. Was fantastic on the PK.  Forwards looked like they had one gameplan and were either unwilling or unable to change in game. Both need to improve next season.

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Disagree on Santini being reliable. He sucks. 

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Credit to Aitchmack for using the bullet points.

  • I miss Mike Brown recaps
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Regarding Hall, the conspiracy theorist in me tells me Shero knew we needed at least one more year of good drafting so he told Hall to take the rest of the year off as a vacation as part of his extension. I still expect he re-signs for 9-9.5 million per for 8 years.

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8 minutes ago, Jerzey said:

Regarding Hall, the conspiracy theorist in me tells me Shero knew we needed at least one more year of good drafting so he told Hall to take the rest of the year off as a vacation as part of his extension. I still expect he re-signs for 9-9.5 million per for 8 years.

You may not be far off. I think it’s more likely that Hall was at 80-85% and a decision was made to hold him out so he could duly heal while the team did as poorly as possible. 

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Just a quick shout out to Drew Stafford. In what was likely his last pro season (on a dogsh!t team) he was a consummate professional, brought his all to the rink every single day, was obviously well liked and well respected in the locker room. 

I was never his biggest fan, but the young guys can learn a thing or two from that. Major props.

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7 hours ago, Aitchmack said:
  • I think this season has shown what a fluke last season was and that a few players excelled themselves and carried the team (Hall, I'mm looking at you!).
  • This season has been a train wreck. Injuries, inability to stick to game plans, inanbility to play for a full sixty minutes have all been factors.
  • Main factor: Lack of talent.
  • I too called for the AHL players to be given a chance and haven't been too impressed.
  • Defence: Yakolev, Carrick, Santini all seem reliable but unspectacular. Mueller & Gryba I think are useless. Butcher underperformed and has to step up again next season. Vats and Severson were pretty consistent. I'd love Severseon to have some coaching with Scott Stevens about how to be physical, especialy in the crease. Greene was Greene. Ageing but giving it 100%
  • Forwards: Nico continued to show what a good player he is. Coleman was fantastic, for most of the season. Palms and Zajac were good. Zacha came on as the season progressed. I don't think he'll ever score a ton of points but I like a lot about his play.  Wood took a step back  and is still an utter bonehead. Agostino, Gabriel, Noeson, Seney, and Stafford I couldn't care less if they play another game or not. Anderson and Bastian get an A+ for effort but still have a long way to go. McLeod was very disappointing  but he seems like a player that takes a while to acclimatise to a step up in level. Rooney is a servicable fourth liner and gives his all.
  • Goalies: I was prepared to write Schneider off but he's come back and looked pretty good. Blackwood has also looked pretty consistent. I can't see how they won't be the goalie tandem going into next season.
  • Coaches: I'm not convinced we have the coaches going forward. The defence looked like it didn't have a clue at five on five for most of the season. Was fantastic on the PK.  Forwards looked like they had one gameplan and were either unwilling or unable to change in game. Both need to improve next season.

Two comments: 

1. You think Santini is “reliable” but Mueller is trash? I would very strongly disagree. 

2. There is no way “acclimatise” is a word, and if it is a word why is that different than “acclimate”?

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4 hours ago, Kinkyisth3b3st said:

Two comments: 

2. There is no way “acclimatise” is a word, and if it is a word why is that different than “acclimate”?

If not, it is now. “Acclimatise” is one’s ability to acclimate. Like “expertise”. 

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Posted (edited)

Nice thread mfitz.

As far as the AHL "prospects" go, I can't get too upset about them not showing a whole lot, because none of the ones up here had Top-6 potential, and I'd say most of them never figured into the Devils' plans for 2018-19, barring total catastrophe/vets being traded at the deadline of course...which was EXACTLY what we saw.  The kids were just about all being asked to do too much at this point in their careers (and some of them will be complete NHL-fringers at best).  The AHL these days feels more like a place to develop lesser NHLers, with most of the genuine blue-chippers spending very little time there, if not bypassing it altogether.  At least Blackwood, in the space of a single season, set himself up to be a big part of the Devils' future in the years to come.  Just REALLY hope he doesn't regress, because the Devils need him now.

There are many who say the Devils can afford to spend big on a bad contract (because quite simply they CAN, with all of the cap space that they have), and I agree.  That bad contract will be Taylor Hall's.  I'm not saying that Shero shouldn't do it, and I'm not knocking Hall one bit.  If he re-signs with minimal fuss, we'll all be thrilled.  But be ready for your fair share of 60-65 games per season (sometimes less), some starts and stops as he's in and out of the lineup, and a lot of finger-crossing as you hope that THIS will be the year where he manages to get through a full season relatively unscathed.  Like I said, I take the risk.  Just don't be all that surprised if, purely from a health standpoint, Hall's career takes a similar path to Mike Cammalleri's.  Some guys just have that penchant for getting banged up and missing games, and unfortunately I think Hall is one of them.

For me, as far as "final thoughts" go, it's actually a little less about what happened on the ice, and more about memories made off it.  When I was a young kid in the late 70s-early 80s, my dad used to get partial season tickets to the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League (NASL)...my brother played soccer all the way through college, and my dad coached most of his teams from his very first practice, so soccer was beyond huge in our family.  That was my first experience with "family bonding through sports" as a kid, though I can't say I'm a major soccer enthusiast.  But at that age, you're always happy to be going almost ANYWHERE, as it just feels cool to be going. 

Most know my general Devils history here, but I've been driving myself to Devils games since the 1987-88 season, when I got my driver's license before that season began.  Though my parents took me and my bro to our first Devils game in 1983, for some reason they never showed much interest in going again...I guess it just didn't "take" for them the way it did for me.  I'd ask my dad to come with me sometimes, but he simply didn't really want to during those earlier years of my increasingly-rabid fandom.  So though I definitely formed bonds through the years, it was with friends and strangers...never with family.

Through my later-to-be-wife, in 2002 I made a friend who had season tix at CAA (near one of the Upper Deck corners, pretty high up), and he basically gave me dibs on his other ticket whenever I wanted to go.  Don't know how many of you know of Crazy Jamie, but she was one section over, to our left...she was a late teen when I first met her, but is now married (to a friggin' Ranger fan of all ironies) with a couple of kids.  One thing that I always thought was cool was about 90% of the time, she attended the games with her father...season after season after season.  That always left an impression on me, in a "Man, if I ever have a kid, how awesome would that be?  Spending time together taking in a big-time shared passion like that" kind of way.

Fast-forward to late 2007, and I get the news from my now-three-years-married wife that she's preggers.  Of course, I was nervous.  And scared.  And thrilled.  But nervous.  But scared.  But elated.  And scared.  But excited.  Not long after I got even better news...though I would've been happy no matter what, my wife was having what I had hoped for:  a girl.  Everytime I went to a game that 2007-2008 season, I'd see dads with their little girls, sometimes teenaged girls, sometimes older, and wonder what my girl would be like.  Would she even WANT to go to games with Daddy?  I knew I would enjoy her regardless of what interests she would eventually take to, but I couldn't help but look around and simply think "Someday..."

After a relatively slow build over the last 4-5 years, "Someday" truly came this season.  We must have gone to close to 20 games this year.  Sure, the team often was disappointing and not terribly good (when they weren't just terrible, period, though at least at home they were closer to respectable).  But my kid almost fully knows what's going on now, following the action, knowing a legit penalty from a bullsh!t one, knowing which players do what...and all I have to do is say "Hey Nat, wanna go to a Devils game on [insert date]?" or "Hey Nat, wanna go downstairs and watch the Devs?", and the reply is always a hearty "Yeah!" or "OK!"  This was the first year I had carte blanche to take her to ANY games that I wanted to (weeknight, weekend, matinee), and I took 100% full advantage.  Though we had fun in the past, it's amazing what a difference a year can make with a young kid.  No more having to leave in the late 2nd or so because she's too tired to keep watching.  No more worrying about if she's going to be a zombie the next day because she didn't get to bed early enough.  She punched through that wall completely and effectively, and because of that, we get to pick up next season right where we left off this season.

So my final thoughts are mostly how special this 2018-19 Devils team will always be to me, even if the on-ice product was very far from that.  Remembering how my daughter lit up so fully after Sami Vatanen gave her a practice puck, in that beautifully innocent simple way that only a kid can.  Reminiscing about how awesomely cool she thought it was to get to shake Kyle Palmieri's hands and actually meet him (not like dad didn't think that was equally awesomely cool, heh heh).  All of the goals and the assists and wins and losses and the good plays and the bad that we celebrated and maligned together.  But I guess mostly I remain amazed how generation after generation bonds so deeply over these adults-playing-kids-games where we have minimal (if any) impact on the outcome, and we can't ever seem to get enough of them.  My daughter had finally tapped out after the second period of last night's game, having enough of a season where the Devils had long been rendered an irrelevant also ran, and asked if she could crash after a long day...I told her sure, no problem.  Before she went upstairs, she asked "Padre (her pet name for me), can we go to a lot of games next year too?"

You betcha, kid.  You bet.

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976
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Awesome post my man.

I’ve experienced the same thing over the last couple seasons, though on a lesser scale, we didn’t make 20 games, I think it was 7. Plus mine is only halfway in when it’s on TV, and sometimes less than that. Watched quite a few games with her asleep on the couch lol. But still, going to the arena was a father-daughter activity that we both enjoy, and you can’t do better than that. 

Also, she can do the entire Ric Flair monologue from memory, she can sing like Brian Johnson from AC/DC, and she knows the Rangers Suck (but I’ve managed to keep her from knowing that the Flyers swallow and that Crosby watches). 

I’ve got to send off her new HFC purple practice jersey to get customized, she wants Blackwood so far. I have no problem with that and may wind up making my own to match. 

Good times. 

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We just had a little girl born on March 30th. One of each now. Just thought I’d add that in considering the last couple of posts. Also I’d like to point out the year my son was born, 4/10/17, we won the draft lottery and drafted Nico. Just saying my kids might bring us draft luck. 

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14 minutes ago, Jerzey said:

We just had a little girl born on March 30th. One of each now. Just thought I’d add that in considering the last couple of posts. Also I’d like to point out the year my son was born, 4/10/17, we won the draft lottery and drafted Nico. Just saying my kids might bring us draft luck. 

Well then I’m not worried. 

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I'm actually excited to see where Zacha goes next year. He's gotta feel good about how yesterday went.  Hopefully he puts in a solid offseason and comes out swinging next year.

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On the father-daughter bonding topic, I’m at the antithesis right now...Dance Competition. Nothing like watching 5 minutes of dancing, spending a whole day hanging around, and then losing the the school’s that take it way more seriously. 

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Positives:

  • Nico and Bratt taking pretty big steps forward. Bratt had two unlucky injuries (puck deflecting off the crossbar breaking his jaw and breaking a bone blocking a shot). 
  • Severson took a step offensively and I thought he was more reliable defensively
  • Uh, Mackenzie Blackwood????
  • Zajac doing his thing at 33 years old. 46 points is nothing to sneeze at.
  • Will Butcher proving he could handle tougher minutes
  • Coleman proving he isn't a fluke. I know he was pretty bad down the stretch but 22 goals at less than two million is amazing ROI.
  • Bastian looking like he can be a good bottom 6 player and pp2 player while throwing the body around
  • Shero getting good value for pending UFAs

Meh/We'll See:

  • Will the real Cory Schneider please stand up?
  • Will the real Pavel Zacha please stand up? 20 points in his last 30 games is 2C production, but a lot of it looks to be smoke and mirrors. Not really shooting more or getting more chances. Has the talent though. Maybe ending the year so strongly will give him some confidence going into the summer
  • Miles Wood played pretty similarly to last year. Didn't take a step back, but didn't take a step forward
  • Injuries- Need to see more games from Hall, Nico, Vatanen, Wood, Bratt, etc. 
  • Kevin Rooney looks like a good 13th forward
  • I like Yakovlev's game but he did not do enough to warrant another contract here
  • Joey Anderson will play in the NHL for a long time; not sure what his offensive upside is.

Negatives:

  • Some of the Binghamton callups: Quenneville, McLeod come to mind the most. Both are first rounders who did not move the needle in their opportunities. I can't get upset at scrubs like Gabriel, Pietila, Colton White, etc. not playing well. 
  • Not really his fault, but Andy Greene is almost done as an NHLer. He's still great on the PK but 5v5 is rough.
  • Mueller and Santini cannot play in your top 6. This pertains more to Santini; he's ass. 
  • Keith Kinkaid

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2 minutes ago, Derlique said:

I like Yakovlev's game but he did not do enough to warrant another contract here

I disagree on several levels:

1. He didn’t get enough of an opportunity.

2. He looked good when he did. 

3. If we are going to use that standard, we gave 3 defensemen left.

4. He could be brought back at very little money. 

All of the above IF we have a spot for him, which I’m not sure we do if Smith and the like make the team, and IF we don’t get someone else via trade or free agency. 

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It was an ideal bad year.  Obviously, we’ll be getting a good pick in the draft no matter what, and maybe a franchise altering pick.  But beyond that, you saw improvement from Nico and Bratt off of impressive rookie seasons.  Maybe Zacha has turned a corner, we’ll see.  The goaltending improved significantly towards the end of the season.  The defense needs work, but some creative thinking could turn that around quickly as well.

Basically, there isn’t anything fundamentally lacking that says we can’t be back in the playoffs next year.  The issue is how we take the next step.  Getting one of the top two picks would help obviously, but Ray needs to be really aggressive this offseason.  

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1 minute ago, mfitz804 said:

I disagree on several levels:

1. He didn’t get enough of an opportunity.

2. He looked good when he did. 

3. If we are going to use that standard, we gave 3 defensemen left.

4. He could be brought back at very little money. 

All of the above IF we have a spot for him, which I’m not sure we do if Smith and the like make the team, and IF we don’t get someone else via trade or free agency. 

I should have said "probably did not do enough". He's in his late 20s, does he really want to take another year near league minimum when he could be making millions back home? Not like he has a set role here

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@Colorado Rockies 1976 crazy Jaime is a great person. He kids met my twins and the wife this year when we made our trek out to the Rock. He husband is an awesome guy too

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9 minutes ago, jagknife said:

@Colorado Rockies 1976 crazy Jaime is a great person. He kids met my twins and the wife this year when we made our trek out to the Rock. He husband is an awesome guy too

Yeah they are good people. I’ve known Jamie for years, we grew up in the same town and went to school together. 

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not sure if the metrics back it up, but I thought the zacha-mojo-bratt line was sharp for the times they were out there..it seemed like a decent 2nd line was forming for us.. obviously unsustainable with 3 extremely up and down players. this pick needs to be a better mojo

goalie tending is still a big question but mckenzie is at least a strong possibility

outside of damon the D was uninspiring 

zajak is where he needs to be  3rd line

Binghamton was a disappointment

need ty and this pick and a hall contract plus some vet defenseman to get to that next step

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54 minutes ago, Derlique said:

I should have said "probably did not do enough". He's in his late 20s, does he really want to take another year near league minimum when he could be making millions back home? Not like he has a set role here

I didn’t say HE would WANT the contract!! 

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