The New Jersey Devils finished the season with a record of 19-30-7 which was second last in the East Division. Although the Devils haven’t been amazing this season, they exceeded expectations and improved as a team. The Devils were led by first year GM Tom Fitzgerald and new head coach Lindy Ruff and the team grew as a whole. The Devils ended the season with one of the youngest teams in NHL History and have established a great young core in New Jersey.
The Devils started off the season really well, with a record of 4-3-2 in the month of January. That initial success came to a halt when almost the entire Devils roster was infected with Covid-19. Once the Devils came back from Covid, they started off well with two straight wins but it came crashing down with the Devils losing 12 out of their next 14 games. The Devils dropped far in the standings and were close to the bottom of the league They picked up some wins towards the end of March but in April they lost 13 out of a 14 game stretch. The Devils began to pick up wins in the last stretch of games but it was too little too late. The Devils ended up with 45 points, putting them 2nd last in the division and 3rd last in the NHL, behind the Anaheim Ducks and Buffalo Sabres.
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* = No longer on the team
Devils Team Awards
Art Ross Award (most points): Pavel Zacha, 35 points (On pace for 58 points in an 82 game season)
Runner Up: Jack Hughes, 31 points (On pace for 46 points in 82 games)
Pavel Zacha had a breakout season, breaking his career high in goals and points in a 56 game season. In a normal 82 game season, he was on pace for 58 points which would have crushed his career high.
Just behind him is Jack Hughes who had a breakout second season, easily beating his point marks from his rookie year.
Hart Trophy (most valuable to the team): Jack Hughes
Runner Up: MacKenzie Blackwood
In his sophomore season, Jack Hughes had a huge impact on the Devils offensively and defensively. Without him, the Devils’ offense would have been horrible.
Despite his struggles in the second half of the season, after he recovered from Covid-19, Blackwood stole many games for the Devils this year.
Norris Trophy (best defensemen): Damon Severson
Runner Up: Ty Smith
Severson has been the best overall defensemen for the Devils this season which is why the Norris Trophy should go to him.
In a close second place is Ty Smith who had a very good rookie year, but his defensive game puts him narrowly behind Severson.
Calder Trophy (best rookie): Yegor Sharangovich
Runner Up: Ty Smith
The Devils were loaded with rookie talent this year, but Yegor Sharangovich has made the case for being the best rookie. He had an impressive 30 points in his rookie year which is tied 3rd on the Devils.
Ty Smith is just behind him, but Smith’s late-season injury, allowed for Sharganovich to take the Calder Trophy.
Vezina Trophy (best goaltender): MacKenzie Blackwood
Runner Up: Scott Wedgewood
The Vezina Trophy was a no-brainer as MacKenzie Blackwood takes home that award, despite his underwhelming performance this year. When healthy, Blackwood played phenomenal for the Devils.
Wedgewood is the clear runner-up, being the backup to Blackwood this season.
Selke Trophy (best defensive forward): Nico Hischier
Runner Up: Jack Hughes
Despite being injured for most of the season, Nico Hischier has been the most impactful defensive forward on the Devils, making a difference on 5v5 and on the penalty kill.
To some, Jack Hughes as the runner-up may be a surprise, but Hughes has used his speed and hands to lead the NHL in takeaways.
Maurice Rocket Richard: Pavel Zacha, 17 goals (On pace for 28 goals in 82 games)
Runner Up: Miles Wood, 17 goals (On pace for 26 goals in 82 games)
As mentioned before, Pavel Zacha took a huge step this year and led the Devils in goals this year. Tied with him is Miles Wood who has scored consistently all season
Most Surprising Player: Yegor Sharangovich
Before the start of the season, almost no one knew who Sharangovich was but he quickly emerged into one of the best Devils players this year and drew the attention of many fans. Sharangovich has been the most pleasant surprise on the Devils this season.
Most Underwhelming: Andreas Johnsson
The Devils brought Andreas Johnsson in this year to be a productive middle-six. However, Johnsson didn’t have an impact on the Devils this year and looked invisible in many of the games. The Devils definitely expected more from Johnsson this year.
Most Improved: Jack Hughes
This is a no-brainer pick. Jack Hughes had a phenomenal second year in the NHL, having a huge impact on the Devils, both offensively and defensively. In Hughes’ first year, he was practically invisible. But this year, he has been the key player controlling the offense completely.
Most Regressed: Will Butcher
Will Butcher had a great first season with the Devils back in 2017-18 but ever since then, he has declined his game and for a majority of the season, couldn’t crack the Devils lineup. Butcher did play better towards the end of the year, but out of all the players on the team, he took the biggest step back.