“We were not good. It was a bad situation that we did not handle well,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said after the team’s season-ending defeat, via NHL.com. “We had some opportunities to bounce back and we played some good hockey. But we just never found a streak.”
The Devils started off their lockout-shortened campaign in good enough shape, roaring out to first place in the Eastern Conference with 19 points around mid-February. At one point New Jersey won five straight culminating with back-to-back wins against the eventual Eastern Conference points leaders in the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, eventually the wheels would fall of the wagon and no such streaks would ensue in March or April.
This now leaves New Jersey with plenty of major questions entering the 2013 NHL offseason and NHL draft, the latter which the Devils are hosting. Factoring into their draft-day decisions will be what to do about unrestricted free agents to-be Patrik Elias and David Clarkson. Elias has been a mainstay of the squad since the mid-90s while Clarkson has joined him at the forward spot more recently, leading New Jersey in goals this past season.
“I hope so, I’ve been here my whole career,” Elias told The Star-Ledger. “I’m ready for anything. Sometimes the negotiations are not as easy as it seems.”
“It’ll be an interesting summer,” Clarkson also told The Star-Ledger. “We have a lot of free agents. We’ll see what is going to happen.”