2014-15 New Jersey Devils Preview: Post-Martin Brodeur Era Begins

by NESN Staff

September 27, 2014

David Krejci, Martin BrodeurMartin Brodeur had been the face of the New Jersey Devils for two decades.

The likely Hall of Fame goaltender led the Devils to three Stanley Cup titles, broke several team and NHL records and is considered one of the greatest players ever at his position.

Brodeur’s contract expired after the 2013-14 season, and with Cory Schneider ready to become a No. 1 goaltender full time, the Devils and Brodeur parted ways. It was the correct decision because Brodeur’s performance (19-14-6 record with a .901 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average) suffered last season.

The 42-year-old netminder has not announced his retirement, so as of Saturday evening, he’s still an unrestricted free agent. What can we expect from New Jersey in the first season of the post-Brodeur era?

Let’s preview the 2014-15 New Jersey Devils.

Additions/Subtractions
Key arrivals: Mike Cammalleri, Martin Havlat
Key departures: Anton Volchenkov, Mark Fayne

Player to Watch
Jaromir Jagr led the Devils in scoring (67 points) and assists (43), while ranking second in goals (24) last season. At age 42, Jagr played all 82 games and was the best player on the ice for New Jersey on most nights. Given the fact that he keeps himself in tremendous physical shape and showed very little, if any, signs of slowing down last season, we should expect another 20-goal campaign from the Czech winger in 2014-15.

Biggest Strength
Special teams was a real advantage for New Jersey in 2013-14.

The Devils had a fantastic penalty kill and led the league with an 86.4 percent success rate on 264 short-handed opportunities. New Jersey scored nine short-handed goals, the fourth-highest total in the league. The Devils’ power-play also impressed last season, converting on 19.5 percent (ninth-best in the league) of their chances with the man advantage.

New Jersey ranked 29th in even-strength goals (128) last season, but they still was able to compete for a playoff spot because of strong special teams.

Most Glaring Weakness
The Devils were horrendous in shootouts last season. So bad, in fact, they went 0-13 in the shootouts and lost many valuable points in the Eastern Conference playoff race as a result. New Jersey’s shootout shooting percentage was a league-worst 8.9 percent — 27 teams shot at least 20 percent or better. Scoring wasn’t the only problem for the Devils, as they also had the worst save percentage (.533) in shootouts.

Expectations In 2014-15
The Devils will contend for a playoff spot in 2014-15. They are a good puck-possession team, have a top-tier (possibly elite) goaltender in Schneider and play in a Metropolitan Division that weakened over the offseason and lacks a clear favorite. If New Jersey improves its performance in shootouts and avoids injuries to key players, a wild-card playoff berth is definitely attainable.

NESN.com’s 2014-15 NHL team previews >>

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