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Hughes, goalkeeper, playoffs and more

Looking back at the 2019 NHL offseason: New Jersey Devils Unexpected appearance in the playoffs, Hart TrophyThe winning winger has ruled the league, and the Devils’ loyal supporters are above it.Then, general manager Ray Shero (Ray Shero) drafted Jack Hughes, The transaction is Norris Trophy Guard PK subclass, And added a Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) top scorer in Nikita Gusev.

People had high hopes for the 2019-2020 season, but it soon shattered.Whether it’s a 4-0 lead on opening night or a trade League MVP, Taylor HallFor the Arizona Coyotes, the team’s impressive offseason plunged the Devils into an unfortunate but familiar place: the bottom of the league.

Fast forward to the 2021 offseason.General manager Tom Fitzgerald has now drafted guard Luke Hughes and signed the guard who changed the rules of the game Doggy Hamilton, Sign veteran winger Thomas TatarAnd added a much-needed goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier To challenge Mackenzie BrightwoodAlthough the excitement level of this offseason is comparable to that of the 2019 offseason, the results are unlikely to be the same. The Devils already have their core and proved that their rookie was legitimate last season.

The following are some predictions of what the Devils might achieve in the 2021-22 season.

Jack Hughes will explode on the offensive end

Hughes showed improvement in his sophomore season and highlighted his ball-handling skills.Although his The numbers are not exciting, Analysis and eye tests proved his growth. However, both the Devils and Hughes know that he is too easy to be kicked out, and he needs to be stronger. In September, he entered the training camp with 14 pounds of muscle. He can now grab the puck and fight more players. However, he is still 20 years old and has not come close to reaching his upper limit in the NHL.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes challenges the New York Rangers guard (AP Photo/Mary Altaf)

One of the weakest parts of the No. 1 pick is his shooting. In 117 games, Hughes scored 29 goals. Although his offensive abilities are impressive, he has difficulty seizing opportunities and often shoots into the goalkeeper’s chest. In addition, he has almost no ice hockey luck and ranks among the best in “missed shots.” Dober’s Frozen Tools.

There is no reason to believe that he did not realize this, and has proven that he has the highest demands on himself. Therefore, Hughes is likely to enter the upcoming season with a desire to score and improve all aspects of his game.

With the addition of Hamilton and Tatar veterans, Hughes may be improved offensively. The Tatars can blend into Hughes’ wing and easily score more than 25 goals with the organization center. Hamilton is one of the league’s top offensive defenders. He is likely to add a change to the team’s presence on the blue line, which will increase the team’s offensive efficiency. Hughes has the resources and the ability to explode in the upcoming season, and every Devil fan is happy to see what he will bring in the third year.

Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier A sort of League’s top goalkeeper series

Blackwood has always been a promising star goalkeeper for the New Jersey team. Last season, he played in his best form since his debut in 2018. Unfortunately, COVID-19 hit the Devils and affected his games for the rest of the season. Coupled with the lackluster defense in front of him, Blackwood struggled for most of the year. He ended the 2020-2021 season with a 14-17-4 record, with an average goal number of 3.04 (GAA) and a save rate of 0.902 (SV%).

Rear Corey CrawfordAfter the sudden retirement, Blackwood and the Devil team’s network depth is very small.Aaron Dell Scott Wedgwood, And a game Eric Comri A total of 24 games were played, and Blackwood started the rest.This The devil then joined Jonathan Bernier In free agency.Bernier in the past two seasons Detroit Red Wings And the performance behind the weak team is impressive. He is an experienced goalkeeper with impressive statistics.according to Natural Statistics Skills, Bernier has 2.77 GAA and 0.913 SV%. His analysis data shows a true 1B goalkeeper, he will work hard to promote Blackwood to become better.

With improved defense and healthy Blackwood, he and Bernier can become a top ten combination in the league. In addition, in the Mets, the two devil goalkeepers may be the top three in tandem. Improved defense will greatly help. The challenge will be for the two of them to stay healthy throughout the season.

Andreas Johnson will eventually become the weapon of the devil’s bargain

On October 10, 2020, the Devils traded Mickey Anderson for the forward Andreas JohnsonAt the time, the deal seemed very special, and Johnson was expected to become the sixth or even the top six forwards of the New Jersey team. However, Johnson had a difficult season. In 50 games, he scored 3 goals and 5 assists. He was hit by the COVID outbreak and mentioned that he never felt fully recovered. Conversely, the Devils are obviously not satisfied with his performance, and he often plays on the fourth line. He was later exposed in the Seattle expansion draft, but was not admitted. Johnson will now get another chance in New Jersey.

Despite his poor offensive ability, Johnson has fundamental analysis This shows that he is better than what he made. The Devils traded the winger to increase scoring and become Hughes or Nico Hihill’s preferred winger. If Johnson can become the target of management transactions, he will be ready to have a better season. He also tested positive for COVID while suffering from asthma and playing basketball every other night. Although his first season in the Rossoneri was disappointing, it is difficult to erase the winger after the shortened curve kick in the 2020-2021 season.

The young core will flourish with the addition of veterans

Despite being at the bottom again, the young core of the Devils has taken an impressive step forward. Along with Hughes, Hihill, Blackwood and Jasper Blatter, other rookies in New Jersey, including Tay Smith, Yegor Shalangovic, Jenny Kukkanen, Michael McGraw De and Pavel Zacha, both showed their development. After the main lineups such as Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri left, young players had to deal with NHL games every other night and compete with the best players in the league. Faced with setbacks such as COVID, rearrangements of games, line changes, and American Hockey League (AHL) call-ups, budding players adapt well.

Jack Hughes Jesper Bratt Nico Hischier Pavel Zacha New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes, Jasper Blatter, Nico Hitchell and Pavel Zacha of the New Jersey Devils celebrate the Power goal at the Prudential Center (Jess Starr/Hockey writer)

With the offseason training, joining Hamilton, signing Bernier and Tatars to fill the vacancies, and joining Ryan Graves in the trade, the young core can make a big leap to make the Devil team a team Competitive team. Experience is one of the most important assets in the league. The four new members have a total of 1,775 games in the NHL games. This will not only improve the Devils game, but also help teach the young core how to win.

The Devil has the potential to sneak into the playoffs

The Devils had a great offseason on paper. The next challenge will be to put it on ice and perform consistently. With the division back to normal, New Jersey will compete with the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals for playoff spots. However, to their advantage, the Devils’ opponents did not get better in the offseason, even though they have made outstanding measures that will definitely improve the team. With an impressive young core, all other rookie groups in the NHL last season have scored more points, and with the addition of proven NHL veterans, the Devils are ready to participate in the game.

In order to enter the playoffs, they need a stable goalkeeper, stronger defense, improved offense, and most importantly consistency. The added experience should help. Devil fans should look forward to this season and have the opportunity to see their young stars continue their development. Considering their success in the offseason, sneaking into the playoffs is not shocking.

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