While the season has officially started for the New Jersey Devils, nonetheless you may be wondering what others outside of this website have predicted for our favorite team this season. There are many pundits out there making predictions, both good and bad, about how this team may do this year. This is an interesting year for this hockey team, coming off of an unpredicted rise last year. There is some really good talent on this roster, but many are grappling with whether or not they can repeat last year’s success or if they will regress and fall short of a postseason berth. Why don’t you check them out to start the first full week of regular season NHL hockey in quite some time?
At NJ.com, Chris Ryan gives us season predictions from the NJ Advance Media. In the Metropolitan Division, they have the Devils finishing 5th, behind Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia, and Columbus. This, they believe, gets them into the 2nd wild card position like last year. Like last year, they also do not predict any teams from the Atlantic to take a wild card. This indeed may need to come true for NJ to gain a playoff berth. They also have the New York teams finishing 7th and 8th in the division, which is cool to see. Carolina is the odd team out, which I hope ends up being true, but they do scare me.
J.J. Regan wrote a preview of the Devils for NBC Sports Washington, of course a site that covers the Caps. He has the Devils narrowly missing out on another playoff berth, writing “I am just not sure this team could manage enough internal growth this offseason.” That is indeed a concern given that it is super important it happens sooner than later if this year is to be successful. It is a valid reason to predict NJ to miss the postseason.
At the Last Word on Hockey, Armand Klisivitch predicts that only five teams in the Metro are serious playoff contenders, leaving Carolina and the New Yorks to the basement (I really am not sure about Carolina just being a pushover, but I hope I am wrong). To that end, he predicts that the Devils will claim a wild card spot finishing either in 4th or 5th in the division. However, he also notes that “they are not yet deep enough for a long playoff run.”
Within their Metropolitan Division preview for this season, Sporting News has New Jersey finishing 5th in the division in what seems to be the most common prediction. They have the team ending with 90.6 points, which I guess rounds to 91. Either way, that would not be enough for a playoff berth. In fact, they do say that “the playoff (sic) may not be in the cards again.” However, one of their writers did predict a finish of 97 points, so there is that. And also on the positive, they expect a good improvement from Nico, which would be awesome.
The Hockey News is a little bit more down on the Devils than other websites out there. In their season preview, they have NJ finishing 6th in the Metropolitan, which I guess means they have Carolina finishing ahead of them. I would assume that over either of the New York teams anyway. In terms of a best case scenario, they write that NJ can make the playoffs again, although winning a series is a tough ask. Worst case scenario, however, “a crash back to earth.” With a prediction of finishing 6th in the division, I am guessing they are leaning towards the worst case.
Every year, USA gives their point projections for every team. Last year, they had NJ finishing 7th in the division with 85 points. This year, they are kinder, but only barely. They only have the Devils finishing with 90 points on the season and being the best team in the East to miss the playoffs. Interestingly enough, they have 90 points as being good for 5th in the Metro. They have the Canes and the New Yorks all finishing with under 80 points (I must be off with my optimism around Carolina).
The Sports Geek did a preview of the Metro over the summer. They have the Devils finishing 5th in the division, a familiar landing spot. In their blurb about NJ, they wrote that “it’s going to take more than another herculean effort from Hall to get NJ back to the promised land.” Good start, right? In the end, they go on to predict that only one wild card will come from the Metro thanks to the improvement of Florida. Because of that, they see NJ as the odd team out. Too bad.
Over at Defending Big D, they pooled all of their writers to come up with predictions for the Eastern Conference. Among 11 people they pooled, the Devils ended up with a 4.27 finish in the Metro standings, which is better than I expected. That would be thanks to three of their writers predicting NJ to finish 3rd in the Metro! Three also predicted a 4th place finish, while four predicted a 5th place finish and one writer predicts them to end in 6th. That all averages out to 4.27. Furthermore, of the 11 people pooled, 7 think the Devils will make the postseason, a 64% positive rating. I’ll take that honestly.
Finally, let’s take a look at Sports Illustrated, which came up with season predictions a little less than a week ago. For the Metro, they have NJ finishing, wait for it, 5th. Of the Devils specifically, they only write that “the race between the Flyers, Devils and Hurricanes for a wild card spot will be fascinating to watch.” Hey, finally here is someone else who thinks Carolina won’t simply just roll over. To that end, however, they have Philly grabbing that wild card position, and Florida taking the other, leaving NJ on the outside looking in.
Well there you have it folks. This year, the predictions are much more positive for our favorite team; however, if you gauge success this year simply by a postseason berth, then that might be iffy, at least by the standards of predictions. The plurality of sites have NJ finishing 5th in the Metro, and really most think that it is a coin toss whether or not that will be good enough to get this team playing into mid-April and potentially beyond. Some have NJ sneaking in with the last wild card, while others think they will be the first team out, perhaps with the worst lottery odds in the NHL. There are a few outliers, like the writers who have NJ finishing 3rd in the division, and a few who have them finishing 6th, but most predictions really have them 5th in the Metro, with a lot less saying 4th. We’ll see how that plays out this year!
Now, 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 5th in the division is a likely landing spot at the end of the season, or do you see a different path for New Jersey? If so, where do you think they will end up? Please leave your comments below, thanks for reading, and Go Devils!