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The October 2022 Month in Review of the New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils opened the 2022-23 season with a 6-3-0 record and some really impressive underlying stats. Perhaps this season will be different? Read on for a summary of the month that was and who was the Devil of the Month.

Columbus Blue Jackets v New Jersey Devils
Pay this man!
Photo by Andrew Maclean /NHLI via Getty Images

The 2022-23 NHL season for the New Jersey Devils started off real poorly. The season opener was a flop. The home opener began with a large crowd cheering and ended with chants of “Fire Lindy!” October was off to a bad start. Then it got better. Much better. The Devils ran off three straight wins, lost, and then ended the month with three more wins in a row including statement wins over the defending Stanley Cup champions and a Columbus team that has been a Problem for the Devils for years. The Devils ended their nine-game slate in October with a 6-3-0 record and more reason to be hopeful going forward. Especially when one looks at how the Devils have earned their record so far. The month ended with jubilation and appreciation for the team. Deservedly so.

We have seen the Devils have positive records in past Octobers (or first month of the season in the case of the 56-game 2021 season). Here’s 2021 when they went 4-2-1. Here’s January 2021 from the 56-game season when they went 4-3-2. Here’s even October 2018 when they went 5-3-1. 2019 was the last time the Devils had a losing record in October and, well, the less said about that season, the better. The last October that went better than what the Devils just did was way back in 2017 - the last season the Devils made the playoffs. Could the Devils build on the 6-3-0 record the Devils finished this past month in? Sure - and I hope so. But before we dive into November, let us look a little closer at the now-completed October 2022 for the Devils.

The Games of October 2022

Preseason for the Devils began in the final week of September and ended in the first full week of October. The results of preseason does and did not matter. What was notable was that Nico Hischier was out for all of preseason and would miss the start of the season. What was also notable was that both goaltenders, Mackenzie Blackwood and Vitek Vanecek, did quite well in preseason. Lastly, Kevin Bahl, Alexander Holtz, Jesper Boqvist, and Fabian Zetterlund all made the Devils roster.

The season would begin properly on October 13 in Philadelphia. Against John Tortorella’s return to coaching, the Devils sought to spoil the Flyers’ opener. That did not happen. Alexander Holtz scored the team’s first goal of the season, a power play goal at that. On the next shift, Philly responded. Then Philly made it 1-3 with a quick pair of goals in the second period. Then Philly made it 1-4 with a PPGA against Mackenzie Blackwood. The Devils were all but done in the game. Damon Severson scored to cut the lead to two. Morgan Frost got credit for a puck that bounced off Dougie Hamilton and went into the empty net to seal a disappointing loss to start the season. The Devils lost 2-5 to Philly.

The fans, the People Who Matter, were unhappy. So much so that they booed when Lindy Ruff was announced prior to the game at the home opener against Detroit. Vitek Vanecek was in net in place of Blackwood. The game started off well with Dougie Hamilton firing in a long shot through traffic for a goal in the first period. Then the second period came in and it all fell apart. Ben Chiarot fired in a long shot. Jakub Vrana went high-shortside on a 2-on-1 past a fallen Damon Severson to take the lead. Fabian Zetterlund set up Miles Wood for a one-timer to tie up the game. This lasted until Vanecek knocked a puck right to David Perron, whom put the puck in the net. With a second left on the clock, Dylan Larkin beat Vanecek to make it 2-4. The fans were deeply unhappy. “Fire Lindy!” chants began in the third period. The booing continued. Dominik Kubalik put a final stamp in a 2-5 loss that left the fanbase upset that the 2022-23 Devils were seemingly the past two seasons in disguise. Miles Wood called the game a “must win” beforehand and, well, they did not.

However, the turnaround would come in the following week. The Devils’ underlying numbers were still good even in those losses. They would manifest in actual results, first starting against Anaheim on October 18. It looked grim as Mackenzie Blackwood and the Devils conceded two goals on six shots in the first period. The fans in a much smaller crowd were upset. The comeback would come. And it did. Ondrej Palat and Nico Hischier scored in close on Anthony Stolarz to tie it up in the second period where the Devils created 20 shots. Bratt set up Hamilton for a beautiful backdoor play early in the third to take the lead. Dawson Mercer chipped in a puck to make it 4-2. The Devils kept attacking to keep the Ducks away from Blackwood and it worked. The Devils won 4-2, the fans cheered, and things started to get a little better.

The good times would continue in Long Island. Ilya Sorokin, one of the top goaltenders, was tested. He would be bested in the second period when Jack Hughes - The Big Deal - finished a one-on-one rush to open the scoring. Palat finished another play from Bratt and Hischier to make it 2-0 with the Isles having little success attacking Blackwood nevermind beating the goalie. Palat would make it a brace late in the third as the Devils pinned back the Isles over and over. With an extra skater, Anders Lee broke Blackwood’s shutout bid. They tried it again but it ended with Hischier sailing in a long empty-net try into the net. The Devils won 4-1 with a stunning 43-17 shot count. The good times would resume at the Rock on Saturday. Against a San Jose team, the Devils forced Kappo Kahkonen to be great. He was - but not enough to deny Yegor Sharangovich a goal off a steal or a power play put-back by Mercer. Kevin Labanc finished a 2-on-1 past Blackwood to make it a 2-1 game. The Devils did something new: they held onto a one-goal lead throughout the third period. They were out-shot in the period - which the Devils put up 36 in total, by the way - but Blackwood stood tall and the defense denied easy chances for an equalizer. The Devils won 2-1 and had a legitimate winning streak. It seemed that the Devils would go on a run of out-shooting opponents and winning more games.

On October 24, they got a dose of reality from the Washington Capitals. Against the first opponent who made the playoffs in 2021-22, the Devils still led the shot count. But they struggled to finish against Charlie Lindgren. Nathan Bastian scored first, Nic Dowd scored second, and then a sort-of repeat of the home opener took place in the second period. Once again, the Devils let up 4 goals. Unlike that home opener, the Devils could have been given assists on at least two of them. A pair of turnovers yielded goals for Garnet Hathaway and a shorthanded goal for Conor Sheary. Blackwood was torched for a quick two GAs from Alex Ovechkin on the power play and Nic Jensen, who was fouled for said power play. Vanecek came in relief for the beleaguered Blackwood. There was a brief sign of a comeback hope; Tomas Tatar scored early in the third and Jesper Bratt scored his first of the season. But the Caps called a timeout, settled down, and cruised to hand the Devils a 3-6 loss. The unhappiness returned. Would the Devils be able to only beat lesser teams?

That question would have to wait until Friday, October 28. First, they had to go to Detroit on Tuesday. Vanecek was in the net, as planned. The 11 forward/7 defenseman plan was replaced with a more traditional 12 and 6 lineup. The Devils may have struggled a little early on and conceded an early goal to Larkin. But the Devils ramped up their play past the halfway mark of the first period and never stopped. Revenge was sought and Alex Nedeljkovic paid the price. Mercer tied up the game; and Hughes took a lead the Devils never lost. Bratt scored a PPG during a Bill Spaulding PSA about mammograms early in the second period. Sharangovich led a shorthanded 2-on-1 and finished it himself to make 4-1. A pass beat Holtz to give Kubalik a shot to beat Vanecek to make it 4-2. The Devils’ response? More shots - and eventually goals. A turnaround finish from Hischier and a goal from Bratt off the rush ended a dominant game at 6-2 for New Jersey. A great response after the Caps game. How would the Devils fare against the defending Stanley Cup champions, though?

Quite well. The Avs did well to stop the Devils from taking 36 or more shots on net; something no opponent had done so far this season (or do this month). Both teams battled along the boards, in the neutral zone, and both defenses did their best to keep the other team from generating dangerous chances. Or chances at all as the shot count ended at 23-24 in favor of Colorado. Yet, the Devils prevailed. Vanecek was perfect in net. The Devils killed six penalties. Pavel Francouz was beaten twice, one goal was disallowed, and a power play strike from Hughes counted. The Devils managed to hang with a very good Colorado team in a tightly defensive game, 1-0. Questions about whether the Devils can prevail against a higher quality opponent and in a defensive game were answered favorably. One more remained in October: Can the Devils beat Columbus, a team who has been 19-5-1 against Devils since 2015?

On October 30, the final October date for the Devils, the Devils had an answer: Hell yes. The Devils egged Elvis Merzlikins with 91 shooting attempts and 53 shots on net. After a first period of seeing Merzlikins stone the Devils, Fabian Zetterlund broke through with a goal in the first period. In the second period, the Devils pulled away further with Hischier scoring off a rush and Ryan Graves hammering in a slapshot on the next shift. Yegor Chinakhov provided a spark of hope for Columbus, but the Devils shut them down. The blowout would proceed with John Marino scoring off Merzlikins’ glove late in the second period in a 4-on-4 situation. It would continue with Jonas Siegenthaler potting in a rebound for a rare PPG, Bratt crushing a cross-ice pass from Hughes, and Miles Wood pwning David Jiricek to roof a backhander past Merzlikins. The Devils won their third straight with a 7-1 rout of a team that has had the Devils’ number for years. And yet another flooding of an opponent with shots and attempts. I loved it. You probably loved it. It was the best way the Devils could end a month of games. The Devils finished with their best record in October since 2017-18 with a 6-3-0 result and a brief hold on first in a very, very tight Metropolitan Division.

Maybe this season will be different.

By the Numbers

Looking at the numbers, well, you may be inclined to think it already is different in a very good way. Every month, I provide a snapshot of the team’s on-ice rate stats, with and without score adjustment, and their ranking among the league. I do this for 5-on-5, power play, and penalty kill situations each. With only seven games played so far, you may want to take this month’s numbers with a grain of salt. Still, to ignore them entirely is also unwise as they may point to some of the good (and bad) things the Devils have done on the ice.

All stats come from Natural Stat Trick and where mentioned.

5-on-5 Play: The most common situation in hockey saw the Devils average just under 47 minutes per game in it in October. That was good for around the league median among all 32 teams. In terms of what they did on it, it was excellent with one notable exception.

New Jersey Devils 5v5 and Score & Venue Adjusted 5v5 Stats in October 2022
New Jersey Devils 5v5 and Score & Venue Adjusted 5v5 Stats in October 2022
Natural Stat Trick

The one exception: Goaltending. It has not been good. Granted, the Devils allowing so few shots in all of their games has not helped either Vanecek or Blackwood with their save percentages. Admittedly, a close look at each of the goals against will find that the goalie has not been at fault for all of them. Still, the point remains: Devils need good goaltending. They arguably did not get it over the course of the month. There were some very good performances. Blackwood during the first winning streak conceded just four goals and held his own in a one-goal win over San Jose. Vanecek put up a shutout over Colorado and allowed just three goals in the current winning streak. The goaltenders have the capability of being good. But they need to be good much more often. Otherwise, it will hold the team back.

That said, the Devils have done everything in 5-on-5 to overcome their goaltending. It may be just nine games and it may have been against just two playoff teams from last season, but these numbers in 5-on-5 are just brilliant. You cannot ask for much more. The Devils attack is absolutely crushing opposing defenses. Only Colorado has been able to slow down what has been an up tempo barrage with frequent contributions ranging from Tomas Tatar and Dougie Hamilton to Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt to even the fourth liners like Miles Wood and Michael McLeod. Everyone has been involved in this 5-on-5 dominance. Only Alexander Holtz in his four appearances has “lesser” 5-on-5 numbers and even he’s above 50% in every mark. The defensive effort (when it does not break down) has been as ironclad as any coach or goalie can ever hope for. Even the barely-outside-of-the-bottom-ten shooting percentage does not hold back a team from putting up 23 goals in 5-on-5 play. (How to account for not so great finishing? Shoot the puck even more, really.) Even the bad 5-on-5 save percentage does not hold the Devils back from a positive goal differential of +6 for the month. The 2022-23 Devils have flooded opponents with attempts, shots, and scoring chances. It has paid off with a huge expected goal differential and, after those first two games, it has translated to actual goal differences.

Full credit to Lindy Ruff, his staff (big shout out to Ryan McGill), and the players for making this possible. If this can somehow be maintained and the goalies, Vanecek and Blackwood, can play more consistently well, then this team is set for future success.

Power Play Situations: The results have not always been there for the Devils on man advantages. However, they did end October with a PPG in each of their last three games. Their process has been a lot more effective than it has been under Mark Recchi.

New Jersey Devils Power Play Stats in October 2022
New Jersey Devils Power Play Stats in October 2022 and Natural Stat Trick

The Devils finished October at 5-for-28 on power plays. A +4 in goal differential, no thanks to a careless giveaway by Bratt to Conor Sheary in the loss to Washington. The Devils are near the bottom ten in total PPGs and in the bottom ten for the number of opportunities. It is a bit surprising that more teams do not foul a high-pressure, high tempo attack in 5-on-5. Then again, their underlying numbers suggest a fiercer attack than their success rate. Perhaps that will correct itself as the season goes on if the Devils can maintain their approach to the most common situation in hockey.

These numbers, in total, show that the Devils have been creating a ton of opportunities in October. This is mostly led by their first power play unit that features Hischier, Hughes, and Bratt. There has been some movement in units, Dawson Mercer went from being the net front guy on PP1 to a role in PP2 as Nathan Bastian has moved to the first unit. The second unit could use some more love as Miles Wood has not been a positive factor. My suggestion to the coaches: Put Yegor Sharangovich on a unit. Or Alex Holtz if and when he re-enters the lineup.

Still, the team is not just sitting in a static 1-3-1 looking for a seam pass or a long shot from the point. Under Andrew Brunette, more Devils are touching the puck. The “bumper” - the middle guy in the 1-3-1 - is seeing passes and plays. The net front player has been involved on plays. The defenseman on the point or Hughes/Bratt from the side are the not the only distributors or shooters; there is a lot more dynamism on man advantage plays. The backpass in the defensive zone is not constant on breakouts. The power play process has yielded far more chances and far fewer wasted two-minute periods of time. My hope is that in time, they will yield more goals. I think it will given these rates.

Penalty Kill Situations: I got worried when I saw some passive diamond set ups. The Devils tried this last season and it stunk so bad they reverted to the wedge-plus-one that did so well under Alain Nasreddine. But this season, whatever McGill has been telling the players, it has been working very, very well. Even the goaltenders are doing a very fine job on the PK.

New Jersey Devils Penalty Kill Stats for October 2022
New Jersey Devils Penalty Kill Stats for October 2022 and Natural Stat Trick

I have been underselling it. The Devils have one of the best penalty kills in the entire NHL.

Their success rate over nine games is above 90%, which is great on its own. Their against-rate stats in shorthanded situations are among the best in the NHL. The best piece of evidence that Vanecek and Blackwood may be just fine is here; both have been great in shorthanded situations. Vanecek has not conceded a PPGA. Blackwood has been beaten by just Travis Konecny and Alex Ovechkin. What’s more is that the Devils’ goal differential when shorthanded has been just -1 for the month. It could have been even if Hischier’s shorthanded goal against San Jose stood up under review for a kicking motion (it did not). The penalty killers have done a fantastic job at retrieving and battling for loose pucks, making clearances, and not panicking if those clearances do not get out of the zone. The goalies, again, have made the stops. And if the Devils are able to break ahead, they can and they have.

Again, it may be a different approach - even subtlety different - but it has been working fantastic in these first nine games. Onward.

Additions and Subtractions

While the season truly began on October 13, there have been some important moves within the roster.

  • First, Nico Hischier left the first preseason game due to cramping. Which turned out to be more serious as he would not play a game until the home opener on October 15. Fortunately, he has since stayed in the lineup, played significant minutes in each game, and has four goals, five assists, and 31 shots on net in eight games while absolutely crushing it in 5-on-5 play.
  • Second, Devils to make the opening night roster included Alexander Holtz, Fabian Zetterlund, Kevin Bahl (Simon Nemec made it first but that was a paper move to ensure a future call up would not cost millions), and Jesper Boqvist. Holtz started the season in Philly and scored a PPG. He was then demoted to the fourth line for the next two games and then scratched until the October 25 game in Detroit. He did not do so well as he took a penalty and “helped” Kubalik score a goal by missing an interception of a Robert Hagg pass, so he has been scratched since. Boqvist also played in the season opener, did not do much, was scratched, and re-entered the lineup as a forward for the last two games where he has done decently but yet to find the scoresheet. When Ruff opted for a seven-defenseman lineup, Bahl was the seventh defenseman. He did decently in limited minutes. However, after the loss to Washington, Ruff returned to a six defenseman blueline and preferred Brendan Smith over Bahl. Smith has done well, so Bahl has remained a scratch since the Caps game. Zetterlund made his season debut in the home opener and set up a Wood goal. His reward was being scratched until the second Detroit game. In that one, he did not score but took 7 shots on net and played well. He got to stay in the lineup. After a 3-shot game against Colorado, Zetterlund opened the scoring against Columbus among his four shots. The Swole Swede gave the Devils a lift and presumably will remain in the lineup for some time now.
  • Third, while those four made the team, Andreas Johnsson was demoted. He was placed on waivers in preseason and no one claimed him and his contract. The forward was professional enough to report to Utica and play quite well for the Comets. He has done so until October 29 when the Devils re-called him. He did not play or dress for the game against Columbus. This call up was in response to this event.
  • Fourth, Ondrej Palat suffered a “lower body injury” after the game against Washington. He played 27 shifts for 20:42, so he either played through it or it came up afterwards. Palat has been out of the lineup since then, which led to Zetterlund’s re-introduction to the Devils lineup. Palat has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to October 24. Ahead of a road trip to start November, the Devils called up Johnsson so they can travel with a full 23-man roster. Palat will be evaluated on Monday so the status of this injury remains unknown. No word came out yet about that evaluation. The Devils’ offense has continued to swarm opponents without Palat, but his absence is notable.
  • Fifth, Mackenzie Blackwood missed a practice due to an “upper body injury” after the Washington game. He did suit up as a backup for the Detroit game and again for Colorado and Columbus. He appears to be fine now. Jonathan Bernier did show up in practice, although so did the emergency backup goaltender - which does not mean Bernier is any closer to being ready, much less come off long term injured reserve. As Ruff has stuck with winning lineups, Vanecek is expected to keep being the starter until he loses, gets hurt, or needs a break.

The Devils have been fortunate that their injury situation has been as small as it is. It was a factor in last season’s woes. That the Devils have been at full strength has helped them be as dominant in the run of play as they have been in October. It is never good to see anyone out hurt and I hope Palat’s injury is short enough that he can return when the Devils come back from their road trip. While one can question Ruff’s decisions to pull the fringe players in and out of the lineup, it has not blown up in the Devils’ faces. Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian have been more than good enough to remain as regulars. Only Zetterlund has made a real impact of the four outside of Holtz’s PPG in the season opener. As the season wears on, I am sure they will get their chances. Hopefully not at the cost of losing anyone else significant in the lineup.

Devil of the Month

I normally name a Devil of the Month based on who has excelled for the Devils throughout the month. I also name an honorable mention as a runner-up to this award. There are plenty of valid choices for the runner-up. Hischier’s 9 points in 8 games while being a standout center in all situations is a great choice. Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Siegenthaler have flexed on opponents defensively. However, my choice for the runner up has to go to a different defenseman.

John Marino has been an absolute joy to watch on the blueline. Think of the best times of Andy Greene’s career in New Jersey and you’re pretty much there in terms of how Marino is performing. Sure, Hamilton has more points than Marino. However, Marino’s 5-on-5 numbers have been absolutely dominant. It may be early in the season, but it is outright ridiculous that someone who has played as much as Marino - 16:26 per game in 5-on-5 per Natural Stat Trick - has an on-ice shots against rate of just 15. It is ludicrous that when he is on the ice, the Devils have an expected goals against rate of just 1.45 and this is while Marino is facing the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Johnny Gaudreau, and Trevor Zegras among others. Marino has strong against rate states while playing a lot on the Devils’ penalty kill. His pinches have been very good, leading to additional offensive opportunities and even led to his first goal as a Devil against Columbus. Marino was expected to be good since the Devils traded Ty Smith for him in July. He has smashed all expectations and is arguably the best defenseman on the team and one of the best in the NHL by 5-on-5 metrics. For that, he is the honorable mention for the Devil of the Month of October 2022.

The actual Devil of the Month? You know him. You know the meme. You may have memorized its awkward abbreviation. I will not even hide it: it’s Jesper Bratt. Who else could it be? He leads the Devils in scoring with four goals and eleven assists in October. That is not enough. Bratt is among league leaders in both assists (he is one behind Leon Draisaitl for the league lead) and points (only McDavid, Pastrnak, and Draisaitl have more points). In terms of 5-on-5 scoring, Bratt leads the whole league with 11 points and is fourth with 5.41 per 60 minutes, finishing behind three players who do not play nearly as much as Bratt does. In terms of the run of play, Bratt has been an absolute force in 5-on-5 and power play situations for the Devils. He has been constantly involved in every game with a contribution to a scoring play. From beautiful dimes to Hamilton, Hughes, and Graves to finishing plays himself with four goals and counting. In fact, Bratt is two games away from setting a franchise record for the longest point streak to start a season. That was set in the 1984-85 season by Tim Higgins, who had 10 points in 10 games. Bratt has already put up more points than that and can certainly do it against Vancouver and Edmonton because no one else has been able to stop him from getting involved. Anyone who wanted Bratt to “prove it” this season has been answered in the affirmative. Tom Fitzgerald need to talk to Josh Harris and David Blitzer and have them earmark a large sum of money (take it out of the Sixers budget, it’s not like they’re going to win anything in the East) to hand to Bratt on January 1, 2023 because #63 is earning it. Bratt is more than just a player on a hot streak; he is picking up where last left off last season. That is more than enough for me to name Jesper Bratt the All About the Jersey Devil of the Month for October 2022.

Concluding Thoughts & Your Take

I was someone who pointed out that the People Who Matter deserved to boo Lindy Ruff and call for his firing. Does the Devils’ utter dominance in the run of play and a 6-3-0 record to close out October mean I am ready to admit I was wrong and the fans were wrong to do so?

Well, not yet. And I’m certainly not going to blame fans for expressing their own feelings. Not with the outrageous costs of going to a Devils game. Which is a topic for another post on another day.

I will and do give Ruff credit for how the team is performing. The 5-on-5 rate stats, the power play rate stats, and the penalty kill rate stats all show a team that is functioning really, really, really well against a variety of opponents. It took some time, but it has been translating to actual goals more often. The Devils have scored four or more goals in four of their six wins in October. When Blackwood or Vanecek are playing even decently and making the odd difficult save, the Devils are a mighty tough team to stop. That speaks well of how Ruff is bossing the team. He has done well in this month. Especially as things could have fallen apart after those first two games and after that first period against Anaheim. Whatever was said in that intermission by whomever provided a turning point in this young season. Since then, the Devils lost one game. That is a lot of success and Ruff shares in that as much as the players and his staff. This is me giving Ruff credit for that success.

I will say that I cannot recall a time where the Devils were this dominant in the run of the play in all three major situations. Sure, a game or two, we can find that. For nine games over just over three weeks, that is uncommon. I am sure the Devils’ numbers will take a hit as the season goes on, but I do not think they’re going to go from being utterly great to utter trash in a matter of a month or two. Short of a massive rush of injuries and Ruff dramatically changing how the team performs. More than the past few seasons, there is more reason to be hopeful for a better Devils season. It is not just from a better record in October. Or coming off from the glorious highs of removing a thorn in their side named Columbus with a 7-1 win.

Yet, the tests are going to continue beyond the game against Colorado and the game against Columbus. It is going to come real fast. November opens with a three game road trip through a Vancouver team that finally won some games and Edmonton and Calgary squads seeking to be contenders. After that trip, the Devils will be home for three more games starting with Calgary and then another road trip to Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. Perhaps an easier slate on paper but all three can ruin the Devils’ nights - especially Toronto as they seek to get their season back on track. On the week of Thanksgiving, the Devils will play four games in six nights against Edmonton, Toronto, and then a back-to-back at Buffalo and against Washington. All before visiting the World’s Most Overrated Arena to end November. The Devils will be playing more teams who made the playoffs last season than not and some high powered offenses of their own. Many of the recent Devils seasons were kneecapped by a poor run in November. I want to see whether the Devils can maintain this kind of play in 5-on-5, man advantage, and man disadvantage situations before I can believe this team is really different and better than the last few. I want to see whether Blackwood and Vanecek can be better and more consistent than they were before having that belief. I want to see the Devils get results against this tougher schedule coming up. Do not misunderstand me. I want it; but I need to see it happen. We will not even have to wait long; it will begin in British Columbia tonight.

Ultimately, I’m not going to feel comfortable with an “I’m sorry, Ruff and Fitzgerald, your team is now really good and I was wrong to doubt you this time” kind of post until January 1, 2023 at the earliest. The last two seasons effectively ended well before that. These nine games in October and the joy of seeing Bratt, Marino, and others crush it do not erase the pain from the previous 138 games over the last two seasons of Fitzgerald and Ruff. I give them credit for putting together and managing a roster to a successful October. More has to be done before I can put any faith in this organization of the team doing more than playing for lottery odds in 2023. Your mileage and faith in the Devils may vary.

I can agree and state that October has went quite well for the Devils. Better than the past few seasons. I think that is a good place to end a summary of this past month. It remains to be seen as to whether it is the start of a more successful campaign, or an oasis visit before more sand dunes of doldrums and losing hockey.

Now that you have read my take and review of October 2022 for the Devils, I want to know what you think. Are you impressed enough with the Devils so far to think this season will be different? Or are you like me and need to see more? Were you surprised to see the Devils rank this well in their stats from October? Which of the nine games the Devils played in October impressed you the most? Would you agree that Bratt was the best Devil of the month of October? Please leave your answers and last thoughts about last month in the comments. Thank you for reading.