Quick Links

Season preview: New Jersey Devils


Season preview: New Jersey Devils

To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.

Today’s team: New Jersey Devils

2014-15 record: 32-36-14, 7th in the Metropolitan

How they finished: Did not make the playoffs

Coach: John Hynes (1st season)

Notable additions: D John Moore, C Kyle Palmieri

Notable subtractions: RW Steve Bernier, C Scott Gomez, D Peter Harrold, RW Michael Ryder, D Bryce Salvador, LW Dainius Zubrus

RELATED: Capitals' depth at center hinges on Backstrom's health

Schedule against the Capitals: Sat. Oct. 10 at Washington, Sat. Feb. 6 at New Jersey, Sat. Feb. 20 at Washington, Fri. Mar. 25 at New Jersey

Outlook: First-year coach John Hynes has his work cut out for him as he takes over a Devils team in transition.

Here's the good news: goaltending is not an issue and the defense is improving.

Corey Schneider provides stability in net and still managed good numbers last season despite New Jersey's dismal year.

Of the six defensemen expected to get the bulk of the playing time this season, five of them are 24 or younger. Eric Gelinas, Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill and Damon Severson all gained valuable experience last season and return as the team's young core. Greene is 32, but still likely commands a spot on the top pairing. The addition of John Moore, 24, puts the pieces in place for what could over time become one of the top defenses in the NHL.

Here's the bad news: who the heck is going to score on this team?

The Devils finished 28th in the league last season in goals per game with 2.15 and two of New Jersey's top five point producers from last season, Scott Gomez and Steve Bernier, are gone. Only two Devils managed more than 40 points last season and no one had more than 50. Just to put that into perspective, the Caps had six players with more than 40 points and three with more than 50.

New Jersey has not had a 30-goal scorer since 2012.

As the Devils start to transition to a younger roster and a first-year coach, it is time for Adam Henrique to assert himself. Henrique has yet to surpass the 51 points he tallied in his rookie season in 2011-12. If he wants to become the superstar player the Devils hoped he could be, it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

New Jersey will also have a choice to make before the start of the season with prospect Pavel Zacha. The Devils selected him sixth-overall in the 2015 Draft, but find themselves in the same position the Caps were in with Tom Wilson. Zacha can play in the OHL or the NHL, but not the AHL. Do they let their 18-year-old future playmaker develop in the OHL or does a team starved for offense risk bringing him to the big leagues?

Despite some of the older veterans who are still sticking around such as Patrick Elias and Mike Cammalleri, clearly this team is focused on getting younger. At 40 years old, Hynes is the youngest head coach in the NHL. He has spent the last five seasons coaching in the AHL where development is a must. Will that help him reach the young players the Devils are building around? You bet.

Expectations: With an established goaltender and improving defense, the Devils look to be just an offense away from turning the corner. Hynes has promised New Jersey will become a more aggressive, attacking team, but this will take some time. The Devils were 20 points short of the last wild card spot last season and I don't see them making that kind of a leap in what is going to be a very competitive Metropolitan Division this year.

The pieces are coming together in New Jersey, but I don't see Hynes in his first season as an NHL head coach being able to turn things around that quickly. 

MORE CAPS: Team Russia fined for walking off the ice at Worlds

See more team previews:

Pacific Division 
Anaheim Ducks 
Arizona Coyotes 
Calgary Flames 
Edmonton Oilers 
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks 
Vancouver Canucks

Central Division 
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets

Atlantic Division 
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division 
Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Islanders 8/26 
New York Rangers 8/27 
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28 
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29 
Washington Capitals 8/30

Quick Links

Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”

Quick Links

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 projection: Still too close to call in the Metropolitan Division


Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 projection: Still too close to call in the Metropolitan Division

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are right around the corner and there is still a lot to be decided.

The Metropolitan Division is going to come right down to the wire as each team seemingly continues to win and put the pressure on the first place Capitals.

With just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, the playoff matchups for the first round of the NHL playoffs are still up in the air with only five points separating the top four teams in the Metro. Washington is in good position with a four-point cushion between themselves and the second place Pittsburgh Penguins.

With both teams meeting on April 1, however, the Caps are still a long way off from clinching the division and earning home ice in the first round.



Eastern Conference (As of Friday 3/23):

1M Washington Capitals (93pts) vs. WC1 Philadelphia Flyers (88pts)
2M Pittsburgh Penguins (89pts) vs. 3M Columbus Blue Jackets (89pts)
1A Tampa Bay Lightning (106pts) vs. WC2 New Jersey Devils (82pts)
2A Boston Bruins (100pts) vs. 3A Toronto Maple Leafs (95pts)

Western Conference (As of Friday 3/23):

1C Nashville Predators (106pts) vs. WC1Anaheim Ducks (88pts)
2C Winnipeg Jets (98pts) vs. 3C Minnesota Wild (90pts)
1P Las Vegas Golden Knights (100pts) vs. WC2 Colorado Avalanche (88pts)
2P San Jose Sharks (93pts) vs. 3P Los Angeles Kings (89pts)


Washington has won only one out of four games against the Philadelphia Flyers this season. That's not an ideal first-round matchup for Washington, but there is still time for the Flyers to climb and overtake Columbus or Pittsburgh in the standings.

What seems unlikely to happen is for New Jersey or Florida to pass Philadelphia. While things remain close near the top of the standings, there seems to be a growing divide between the top-four teams in the Metropolitan Division and the two teams battling for the final remaining spot in the playoffs.

The Flyers may be in fourth place in the division, but they still boast a healthy six-point lead over the Devils who sit in the second wild card.

If we assume New Jersey and Florida will not be able to climb to any postseason position, but the second wild card, that makes the three most likely candidates to face Washington in the first round Pittsburgh, Columbus and Philadelphia.


Metropolitan Division
1. Washington Capitals (93 points, 74 GP, 40 ROW)
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (89 points, 74 GP, 40 ROW)
3. Columbus Blue Jackets (89 points, 75 GP, 36 ROW)

Atlantic Division
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (106 points, 74 GP, 45 ROW)
2. Boston Bruins (100 points, 72 GP, 42 ROW)
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (95 points, 74 GP, 37 ROW)

Wild Card:
WC1. Philadelphia Flyers (88 points, 75 GP, 36 ROW)
WC2. New Jersey Devils (82 points, 73 GP, 32 ROW)

Still in the Hunt:
Florida Panthers (81points, 72 GP, 34 ROW)


Central Division
1. Nashville Predators (106 points, 73 GP, 43 ROW)
2. Winnipeg Jets (98 points, 73 GP, 42 ROW)
3. Minnesota Wild (90 points, 73 GP, 38 ROW)

Pacific Division
1. Las Vegas Golden Knights (100 points, 74 GP, 44 ROW)
2. San Jose Sharks (93 points, 74 GP, 38 ROW)
3. Los Angeles Kings (89 points, 75 GP, 39 ROW)

Wild Card:
WC1. Anaheim Ducks (88 points, 74 GP, 34 ROW)
WC2. Colorado Avalanche (88 points, 74 GP, 39 ROW)

Still in the hunt:
St. Louis Blues (85 points, 72 GP, 34 ROW)