Devils fans were happy when the last puck fell last season, as it was quite the disappointing campaign. Compiling just 78 points through 82 games was certainly not the kind of results that New Jersey fans were hoping for. This offseason, then, was met with some anticipation with the hiring of new General Manager Ray Shero. To date, the verdict appears to still be out. While Shero has been slow in pulling the trigger on many trades and acquisitions, he seems to have come to the team with a clear vision and direction of what he wants to accomplish. This will take time to pan out for him, but the hope is that he can pull it off in the coming months, well before October rolls around.
The offseason has not been all quiet in New Jersey. It began with trading for Kyle Palmieri, which certainly appealed to many fans, and appears to be a good move in the long run. At only 24 years of age, he is just beginning to mature into a quality player that analysts suggest could contribute in excess of 20 goals in his first season in a Devils uniform. The only question mark with this move is the one-year remaining on his contract. This leaves not much time for the club to decide whether to sign him to a new, longer term contract, but at least the move situates the offense well for the coming season. All indications are that this was a quality first move by the new general manager.
Not wanting to neglect the defense, as the Devils certainly have much room to improve in this area, the signing of John Moore is another good move. Again, a young player at 24 years old, the three-year contract solidifies one of the more quality defensemen in the league. The team spent big to get him, roughly $5 million a year to be exact, but to compete in the Eastern Conference, this was a must. Even though he is young, Moore already has 230 games at the NHL level underneath his legs, so he should be ready to play from the first drop of the puck in October.
Graphic via nhl
Yann Danis will be back in goal for the Devils this coming year, which is good news as he is the type of veteran that the club needs. He agreed to a one-year deal, so the future is still not guaranteed, but this gets the team over the initial hurdle of wanting to provide some stability during this rebuilding stage. The only worry is that the goalie is prone to injury, so fans will be crossing their fingers that he can stick around long enough to help with a final push for the playoffs. Other signings this offseason so far include defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani and forward Jim O’Brien. Both are solid moves, yet not spectacular. So, to this point, the team is making progress and should be better than last season’s disappointed record revealed. The question of if they can make the playoffs, however, will likely depend on making a few more quality signings before this offseason comes to a conclusion.
Graphic via fansided