The New Jersey Devils had Stanley Cup aspirations this season, and not only are they not close to that, they’re also struggling to stay in the playoff race. They’ve dealt with plenty of injuries, and now their defense core has taken a big hit with a long term injury to Dougie Hamilton, but the bigger concern has been the goaltending.
How will they fix their issues? Frank Seravalli and Tyler Yaremchuk took a guess on Daily Faceoff Live.
Frank Seravalli: I think the level of concern for the Devils is pretty significant, because you were already asking a lot of your defense core. Now you take Hamilton out for the foreseeable future, a torn pec muscle is no joke. So he’s on the shelf and I already thought that their defense was swimming upstream, and then you look at the goaltending and I just don’t really have a ton of confidence in Vitek Vanecek, and Akira Schmid still has a long way to go. You look at those two guys and you wonder who’s going to bail this team out.
Who on this defense core is going to step up and help right the ship? It’s great and it’s exciting that you have someone like Simon Nemec to step into the lineup, and I thought he looked great the other night when he played, but that’s a huge ask, and I think you’re taking this things and you’re mashing them all together and wondering if the Devils can make the playoffs? Yes they can, and in fact I would say that it’s not likely, but they’ve got a real good chance to beat out some of those teams that are in the mix for a wild card spot or that third spot in the Metropolitan Division.
But they’re definitely not in my Stanley Cup contender category, and it’s not a work thing with them, it’s not an intensity thing. Sometimes I watch this team and I think they want it too much. But, I don’t know where the reinforcements are coming from. I don’t know that Vanecek and Schmid are going to start playing at a .905 level or a .910 level to help dig this team out, and certainly not the problems compounding on their blueline. I think they’ve got to be in trade mode to try and help fix this team and provide some support defensively.
You can watch the full episode here…