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Devils Continue to Struggle

 

The New Jersey Devils have had a rough season heading into 2017 as the team currently sits at 2nd to last in the conference above only the 7 win Flyers. With a 14-20-6 record, the team has basically an impossible task of climbing the standings with 42 games remaining. 3-7-0 in the last 10 games an with a 4 game losing streak this team has to start looking toward next season. Unfortunately with the NHL play of key players like Boone Jenner, Nick Bjugstad and Alex Edler - the teams outlook next season could be even bleaker. Kane is having another wonderful season with his just over a point per game pace good enough 8th in the league, however he's basically had to do it by himself. David Backes has 34 points but those are in the onl two on the team with more than 30 points. While New Jersey has faced more injuries than usual this season, the key players have all been relatively healthy despite missing a few games here and there. The talent in the room is just not there. Ryan Miller has an ugly .892 sv% but with the team put out in front of him it's hard to put too much blame on the goaltender. He is in the last year of his contract and while the team has no other goalie in the system ready to take over the #1 role, the decision to loyalty him or captain David Backes will be a tough one. Both are on the decline in terms of their production and how important they will be in the future, but Backes in the future can at least be a great 3rd line player while it's really hard to predict how much longer Miller could stay a starter in the league. His .892 sv% is tied witht he worst he has had for the Devils, however the last time he was that low he managed a 35-18-4 record in 2011-2012. The team really needs some players develop like Charlie Coyle seems to be this season in the NHL. It's likely too late into the NHL season to have that really change next seasons NEFHL team as well however their is always free agency and trading that could improve the team. The team doesn't plan to trade it's upcoming 1st round pick, but with the selection looking like a top 10 pick their could be pro roster value coming back if it was moved.