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The Prestigious AAtJ Mid-Season Devils Awards

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The Devils, who are ostensibly an NHL hockey team, probably don’t deserve many awards for the first half of the 2016-17 season, but we’re gonna hand some out anyway.

Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
Let’s hand out a few this-team-appropriate statues of our own.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Welcome, welcome, one and all to the 2016-17 version of the Devils Mid-Season Awards! Here at All About the Jersey, we have all enjoyed the first half of this wonderful season immensely and we know you have as well! Some might say that following up the ray of hope that was the 9-3-3 start of this season with the team crashing and burning so hard over the past couple months that we all now live in the giant, smoldering crater of their wreckage is a bad thing. But not I! Rooting for a hockey team is always best when you feel like they are mired in a pit of despair from which they might never emerge, so this season is actually very good. When will the Devils be good again? 2020? By the Chelsea Clinton vs. Donald Trump Jr. election in 2032? Never? Who cares! Lets all just enjoy the Devils’ 2016-17, which has been enjoyable and not in any way soul-crushing. With that in mind let’s hand out some mid-season awards, shall we?


Best Player

N/A

As you may have gathered by now, there was a just a hint of facetiousness in that opening. I’m sure there are arguments to be made for this award. It’s probably Taylor Hall. Maybe you could conjure up an argument for Zajac if you’re feeling frisky. I’m not feeling frisky, though. I’m feeling spiteful. So nobody gets it.

Worst Player

(Tie) Everyone

Since I don’t feel like awarding anyone with Best Player, it feels tidy to allow the entire team share in the shame of Worst Player. Plenty of players have played lots of terrible hockey and many individuals would be deserving of the award all on their own, but the misery of the past couple months feels rather all-encompassing on this roster. I know this seems like giving everyone a participation trophy, which many people frown on these days, but try to think of it as more of a ‘we wish you hadn’t participated’ trophy.

The Lee Stempniak Award for Inexplicably Leading the Team in Goals After Being Plucked Off of the Scrap Heap

P.A. Parenteau, RW

It’s nice that the Devils have been able to extract good value out of their preseason bargain bin trips the past few years, but it’s also somewhat concerning that journeyman role players keep leading the team in major offensive categories after they are acquired. On the bright side, the Devils will likely be able to once again acquire a couple decent picks out of it at the deadline. That’s why we all watch the games: for those sweet, sweet 2019 second-round pick acquisitions.

The Poor Timing Award for Being Traded at an Extremely Inopportune Time

Taylor Hall, LW

Taylor. My man. I’m sorry. The Oilers, largely in spite of themselves, finally appear to be starting to emerge from their decade-long “rebuild” in Edmonton, thanks to the arrival of a once-in-a-generation talent who is able to paper over the myriad holes remaining in their roster. And you are now mired in a completely different rebuild on the other side of the continent whose ending point remains unclear. Instead of being the Malkin to McDavid’s Crosby, you are more like the Devils’ answer to John Tavares, doomed to oversee the futility of your teammates until further notice.

The Keep Your Bags Packed Award

Reid Boucher, LW

One of the many disappointing occurrences this season was the slow start and subsequent departure of Reid Boucher. After having what seemed like a breakout second half of the 2015-16 season, it felt like Boucher was primed to be an effective NHL role player who would be able to provide some much-needed scoring depth. Instead, he’s been claimed off waivers thrice, including his second one-day stint with New Jersey and is now with his third organization in two months in Vancouver. Pretty much a bummer for everyone involved. At least you’re racking up those frequent flier miles, Reid.

The Extremely Concerning Drought Award

Pavel Zacha, C

Zacha’s first season in the NHL, after a promising start, has not gone so well. At the start of the season, Zacha seemed like a player who had the instincts to be a quality NHL forward and playmaker. Fast forward to today, and he hasn’t tallied a point since November 26th and doesn’t look nearly as dynamic as he did earlier. The Devils’ record on effectively developing young players in the last decade has been, uh, suspect at best. The Devils can ill-afford a player taken as high as Zacha was not becoming at least somewhat of an impact player and his rookie campaign is starting to become a worrisome one. Far to early for the dreaded b-word to get tossed around but... c’mon man, at least throw us a bone here with an occaisional secondary assist.

The We Cannot Hope to Compete With Your Terribleness Award

(Tie) Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes

After giving the fans a real December to Remember (only with terrible hockey instead of Lexuses with giant bows), the Devils appear to have settled on being quite bad this season (thanks, guys!). Despite this, they are still unlikely to be able to compete with the sheer ineptitude on display in Glendale and Denver these days. If you’re on #TeamTank, you’re probably going to have to settle for being third-to-last at worst (best?).

The Johnny Mac Memorial Rapidly Warming Seat Award

John Hynes

Now, the Devils are in just year two of a pretty comprehensive rebuilding effort, which typically affords the coach quite a bit of leash, but it’s hard not to wonder if the buzzards are starting to circle around Coach Hynes. The expectations weren’t super high coming into this season, but most were hoping for an improved team that could hang around in the playoff picture. Instead, the Devils are in 14th in the East and 9 points out of the second wild card after an all-time disaster of a month of December. But it hasn’t really been that the team is losing, it’s that they’ve been getting throttled on a nightly basis and often look completely lost. The roster still has significant issues, but it’s hard to look at what’s happening on the ice and see a well-coached team. Though I am enjoying the sequel to Fast, Attacking, and Supportive titled “Sluggish, Discombobulated, and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”

Your Awards

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Hopefully the second half of this season will be just as magical a ride as the first was! Do you have some mid-season awards you’d like to bestow on your favorite (or least favorite) Devils? Sound off with your awards and superlatives in the comments below and thanks, as always, for reading.