Fresh from the start the Devils looked to be a powerhouse of the Metropolitan division, starting the season the Devils won eight of their first ten games, bringing them to 8-2. Not too shabby for a team that dealt with some injuries early on and still are to this day. On the season the Devils are 9-4-1 one point behind Pittsburgh for the Metropolitan lead.
Devils unsung heroes
Devils concerns though have to come at large here, due to the fact that their leading goal scorer is Brian Gibbons, a player who has not tallied over 17 points in his short NHL career. Along with rookie sensation Jesper Bratt who has shocked the hockey world with 12 points and 5 goals. Throw Will Butcher into the mix who has 12 assists in 14 games, the Devils are seeing production from unknown guys, who will more than likely not be able to produce all year. Now if you look at the guys that need to produce all year, with the exception of Kyle Palmeri because of his injury. But Adam Henrique, 3 goals, 5 assists in 14 games, Marcus Johansson, 3 goals 2 assists in 10 games, Pavel Zacha who is an extra forward at the moment, Drew Stafford 6 points in 11 games and Demon Severson, 4 points in 13 games.
The Devils are seeing unlikely production from some unsung heroes, which quite frankly will not be sustainable come later in the year nor for a full 82-game season. There is not much to prove why the Devils will continue this success. The argument of acquiring Nico Hischier, Marcus Johansson, and Will Butcher is simply not enough for me. We are talking about relying on two inexperienced players and another player who has been in and out of the lineup and excelled on the Capitals because of the surrounding cast.
But, don’t count them out…
Now, I am not completely ruling out New Jersey, the only way I can see this team be in the mix is due to two players Taylor Hall and Corey Schneider. Last year Schneider struggled a ton, there is no denying that his 2.98 goals against and .908 save percentage speak for themselves. Hall collected 12 points in his first 14 games last season and he is already well over that number with 17 points on the year. With the production of Hall and Schneider, this team can rally together to be a bubble team. Not for nothing, to give credit where credit is due, the Devils can play with any team in the NHL, they never quit and never look out of games. The Devils ability to grind out games and stay close with good teams is their biggest strength.