The season is going in the worst possible way to start for the New Jersey Devils. For the first time in their franchise history, they are winless in their first six games. They are on an extended road trip that goes through Canada and is putting a lot of miles on this team early.
So why be optimistic? What could possibly go right in this season?
For one, the schedule at the end of the season is not nearly as bad as it is here. In February, March and April, the Devils only have to play ten away games. That is very far away for fans to think about, but it shows they can have as good of a home stretch as they bad as their start was.
Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac, Steve Bernier, Ryane Clowe and Andrei Loktionov have all gotten off to horrendously slow starts. It is hard to believe they will all stay on the extremely slow paces that they are all on. They will even out, if not get back to their career averages. Once that happens, the offense will flourish as a whole. They are currently living their offense through the old man line consisting of Jaromir Jagr, Dainius Zubrus and Patrik Elias, and then Michael Ryder and Damien Brunner have been goal scorers as well. They can’t have their entire offense come from five guys, and by the end of the season they won’t have to worry about that.
You wanted to see what the new weapons can do, and as said before they have been the offense for this team. Brunner seems like the offseason’s best signing, and it was close to its last signing. Jagr may be the best guy behind him in this entire offense. He has shown he has a lot left in his 41-year-old body. Ryder has one of the sweetest shots on the team. Hopefully he uses more than seven times in the next six games.
Marek Zidlicky has had a very good season minus two bad plays (leaving Sean Monahan wide open late against the Calgary Flames and passing on a wide open net against the Pittsburgh Penguins). That is saying much especially since he hasn’t done much offensively. He will eventually get more shots towards the net, which will lead to more goals for the team. Anton Volchenkov could not play worse. Hopefully Peter DeBoer realizes that he will be much better with Mark Fayne in the lineup. Adam Larsson seems to feel the pressure that came with everyone picking him to be a breakout player this season. That pressure will dissipate as the year goes on. Andy Greene and Bryce Salvador have played well so far, as well.
Martin Brodeur looked rusty in his first couple of games. He missed most of the preseason to deal with some family issues. He will get better as the season goes along. Cory Schneider is getting the unluckiest of bounces this season. Every single goal (besides the Sidney Crosby snipe on opening night) bounces off a defenseman or a stick or a post and goes in every time. He always has no chance to stop it. That kind of luck doesn’t last forever.
Point of it all is that the season is not over after six games. There is plenty of room to improve of course, but it isn’t as bad as the record says. Beyond that, the other teams in the division haven’t exactly overwhelmed. The Devils are only one point out of a playoff spot as of now. The season will get better; just have hope.