The New Jersey Devils haven’t made the playoffs since 2012 and that is when they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals as the #6 seed. They lost to the #8 seed Los Angeles Kings that season. Martin Brodeur was the goalie then and Zach Praise and Ilya Kovalchuk were the main goal scorers then.
Adam Henrique was only a rookie and was a hero twice in overtime in those playoffs. Man have times changed in New Jersey and ever since, they have been trying to rebuild. Peter DeBoer was the coach then and he is now coaching the San Jose Sharks. John Hynes is the current Devils coach and he will probably be on the hot seat to start the season.
10. Colton White, defenseman: The Devils weren’t very good on defense last season. White played with Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), for the past four seasons. In 64 games, he scored 6 goals and recorded 25 assists. His plus/minus was a solid 24. In 11-playoff games, he recorded three assists. White is a good skater.
9. Colby Sissons, defenseman: Sissons improved from the 2015-2016 season to the 2016-2017 season with the Swift Current Broncos (WHL). Last season he scored 6 goals and recorded 22 assists. His plus/minus was 11. In 14-playoff games, he scored four goals and recorded two assists.
8. Brandon Gignac, center: He played in two games last season with the Albany Devils (AHL), but he was sent back to Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL). This move paid off well for him last season. In 59 games, Gignac scored 23 goals and recorded 39 assists. His plus/minus was 23. In six-playoff games, he recorded four assists.
7. Blake Spears, forward: Spears played in three games last season with the New Jersey Devils. They wanted to give him a look and see what they have with him. In 30 games with Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), he scored 15 goals and recorded 19 assists. His plus/minus was a good 14. In 11-playoff games, he scored one goal and had seven assists.
6. John Quenneville, center: He played most of the 2016-2017 season in the AHL, but Quenneville saw 12 games at the NHL level in 2016-2017 because of injuries to the team. In 58 games with Albany (AHL), he scored 14 goals and had 32 assists. His plus/minus was a brutal -19. Quenneville needs to work on his defensive game a little bit. At the NHL level, he scored one goal and recorded three assists. His plus/minus was one.
5. Nathan Bastian, forward: He was drafted 41st overall in 2016 NHL Draft and Bastian has a lot of upside in the near future. Bastian could be a top-6 forward in a couple of years or maybe sooner. In 58 games with the Mississauga Steelheads, he scored 16 goals and had 29 assists. His plus/minus was 13. In 20-playoff games, he had seven goals and assists.
4. Michael Kapla, defenseman: Kapla has a really good shot to make the Devils roster this upcoming season. He played in 41 games at UMass-Lowell last season and Kapla score three goals and had 27 assists. His plus/minus was 5. Kapla appeared in five games last season with New Jersey and he didn’t score or have an assist.
3. MacKenzie Blackwood, goalie: The Devils currently have Cory Schneider as the number one goalie. He regressed last season and if Schneider doesn’t bounce back in 2017, questions will start to mount as to whom will be the future goalie. Keith Kinkaid is currently the backup and he isn’t an NHL starter. Scott Wedgewood has potential, but he is hurt too often to be relied upon. Blackwood has the best chance to become the starter in a couple of years. Blackwood played in 36 games last season with the Albany Devils (AHL). His record was 17-14-3 with a 2.55 GAA and a .907 save percentage, along with three shutouts. He appeared in four-playoff games. His record was 1-3 with a 2.13 GAA and a .928 save percentage, along with one shutout.
2. Michael McLeod, center: McLeod could very well be a top-6 forward this season because the Devils lacked goal scoring last season. He will be one of the young players to provide a boost to the team. McLeod scored 27 goals and had 46 assists in 57 games last season with the Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). His plus/minus was 28 which is very good. In 20-playoff games, he scored 11 goals and recorded 16 assists.
1.Nico Hischier, center: Hischier was the number one pick in this summer’s draft. Hischier could very well spark the Devils offense in his rookie season. Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique will most likely be his linemates. In 57 games with the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), Hischier scored 38 goals and had 48 assists. His plus/minus was 20. In six-playoff games, he scored three goals and recorded four assists. Hischier could be the main piece that gets the Devils back to the playoffs in 2017-2018.