The informal end of the season preview for All About the Jersey, today I like to look up predictions for our New Jersey Devils that come from outside of this blog. If you want to check out our predictions, or if you missed any part of the official season preview from us, you can access all of the articles from here.
Given how the team performed last season, and how they have performed over the last several seasons to be honest, I would not expect to read many pundits who believe the Devils will go places. I mean heck, us as fans who write for this website do not really have a strong belief that this will be competitive this season. In my opinion, however, that is fine as long as we see improvement and growth, especially in the young talent. Given that preface, if you’re still interested in reading on, here is an incomplete list of season predictions for the Devils from elsewhere on the internet.
At Last Word on Hockey, they had an entire preview of the team back a couple of weeks ago. As a positive, they do believe what I have echoed: the future looks bright, and there are a lot of young, talented players that could be on the rise. However, they also believe that this is not the year they become competitive either, and as a result they predict that NJ will finish 15th in the Eastern Conference. But as he says at the end, “a strong season from their young players and another top pick may be seen as a successful season.” I agree.
Fansided has a similar prediction for New Jersey as the Last Word on Hockey did. They expect the Devils to finish “among the worst teams in the league.” If you take that to mean among the worst 8 teams or so, I would say that is a valid possibility. However, as they also wrote, “the offense should be solid for the first time in a while…this season, the fans can finally hang their hat on the team finally being on the right path.” That is hopefully true, and definitely exciting.
So I know their reputation with hockey, but ESPN has a preview on the Devils, and it seems to me they have been trying to get more back into hockey over the last year or so, namely online. They still ignore it on TV. In their preview of the team, they say the positive on this team revolves around the young forwards and the potential for Nico Hischier to click with his linemates and have a productive season. However, in the end they still predict the Devils will finish 8th in the division, or dead last. That figures.
Over at the Sporting News, they have a prediction article for the Metropolitan Division. They believe the only real positive us fans have to look forward to is the development of Hischier, which they believe will go well. However, among the three writers who made predictions, all of them have the team finishing dead last in the division. This seems like it will be a trend.
Real Sport had a preview of the team back about a month ago. Again, the positives about this team are the same: the young group of prospects has gotten considerably better over the last few years. This year, several should really improve and begin to show promise. However, unlike most of the other website where the writers still predict a finish near the bottom, here they think the Devils have a shot. The prediction here is that the Devils will finish no worse than 11th in the conference, with a chance to make a run for a wild card if the young kids mesh well with the established players. This could be a reach, for sure, but why not inject some positivity when there is some out there!
USA Today gives point projections for each team in the NHL. They have the Devils finishing at 85 points, with a record of 36-33-13. The fact that they predict the Devils will finish with more wins than losses is a bonus in my book. Those points, according to the paper, would have the Devils finishing tied for last in both the Metro and the Eastern Conference with Philly. Their one sentence about NJ: “GM Ray Shero is making an impact with the New Jersey Devils, but he still needs time.” Fair enough.
How about a real bold prediction? The Hockey Writers came up with bold predictions for each team over the course of August. While in the article they do say that “they likely won’t be a playoff team,” they do have a pretty bold prediction for this offense. Specifically, their prediction is that “the Devils should find themselves among the top 10 teams in scoring.” That is bold indeed! In my preview of the offense, I said not to expect this offense to even crack the top half of the league, and most likely not crack the top 20. I sure hope I am wrong and that THW is right.
The Hockey News had their season preview of New Jersey up a month ago. Their best case scenario: “New Jersey won’t make the playoffs, but it’ll be competitive.” Their worst case scenario: “finish in the bottom-two, then get bumped out of the top four draft picks one year after the lottery balls bounced in their favor.” Prediction: 8th in the Metro…success remains a long way off.
Well there you have it folks. That is eight predictions about the Devils season and where they will end up at season’s end. Like expected, none are overly positive. One website has the team finishing no worse than 11th in the conference, but basically every other preview expects the Devils to finish at or near the bottom of both the division and conference. And if USA Today is right and 85 points is only good for 15th in the Conference, then that could be about right to be honest. Just remember: this is a year to see growth and development and to know that this team is actually back on the right path to competitiveness. If we see that, then honestly whatever the team’s record at the end of the season is won’t matter as much, at least for me. In fact, another high draft pick would be huge, especially if that comes with the knowledge that players like Nico and Pavel Zacha are turning into legitimate stars.
Have you read a preview and prediction about the New Jersey Devils that I have missed? If so, can you please link to it in the comments so we can get a good compilation of previews here? How do you feel about all of these predictions? Do you think the pessimism around this specific season is warranted, even with the buzz surrounding the young kids and their potential growth? Please leave your comments below, and thanks for reading. Go Devils, it’s time to start the season!!!