The New Jersey Devils are all in on 2023. Riding one of the best young cores in the league, the Devils bought big at the deadline, making the biggest deal in NHL history in assets exchanged to acquire Timo Meier. The Devils responded after the trade by winning all but two of their following games and taking hold of the Metropolitan division.
Here’s a look at where the New Jersey Devils stand as they contend for the NHL playoffs
It’s Timo Meier time. It hasn’t taken long for the best player on the San Jose Sharks for the past three seasons to make his presence felt on the New Jersey Devils. The Devils offense has been red hot since their acquisition. The Devils haven’t scored less than three goals in a game since mid-February.
The youth movement has been felt this season as well. The Devils have seen breakout seasons from players early in their careers like Jack Hughes, Dawson Mercer, Jesper Bratt, and even Nico Hischier. The Devils have found an established core that they will be able to rely on for years to come.
What the Devils’ blue line lacks in depth, it makes up for in top end talent. Dougie Hamilton is having a career resurgence in New Jersey. He is the unquestioned “adult in the room” for the New Jersey Devils. Hamilton has the makup of the perfect top-end blue-liner for this young team.
The rest of the defense has seen production in unlikely places. Both Ryan Graves and Jonas Siegenthaler are having career years and are in the top five on the team in plus/minus with Hamilton. John Marino has been reliable as well. There is a question on their last pair. Having Brendan Smith and Damon Severson back there may not be as good as the teams they will play in the postseason.
The Devils haven’t been a mess in net, which may be surprising due to the circumstances that have plagued the team throughout the season. Mackenzie Blackwood boasted a .900 save percentage and a 3.04 GAA before getting injured. Fortunately, his replacement has been even better.
Vitek Vanecek has given the New Jersey Devils exactly what they need. The goalie is 28-7-3 this season with a .910 save percentage and a 2.48 GAA. Not world-stopping, but enough to keep the puck out of the net consistently while their elite offense goes to work.