5 Things the New Jersey Devils Must Do To Make 2015-16 NHL Playoffs

By Jeff Henning

5 Things the New Jersey Devils Must Do To Make 2015-16 NHL Playoffs

New Jersey Devils
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After a disappointing 2014-15 campaign, the New Jersey Devils made some major changes both on and off the ice as a franchise. They moved on from longtime GM Lou Lamoriello while also parting ways with lots of veteran forwards. Here are five things the new-look Devils need to do in order to make the 2015-16 postseason.

5. Forward Depth Must Be Addressed

Kyle Palmeiri
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5. Forward Depth Must Be Addressed

Kyle Palmeiri
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From last season to this season, the Devils have almost completely revamped their offensive roster. They moved the ageless Jaromir Jagr at last year's trade deadline and moved on from veterans Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat and Dainius Zubrus in the offseason. Can the new-look Devils provide enough offense to spurn the Devils into the postseason, or will new GM Ray Shero have to make a move or two?

4. Special Teams Must Improve

Jiri Tlusty
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4. Special Teams Must Improve

Jiri Tlusty
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Perhaps the biggest weakness on this team is their special teams. Although the Devils were at or around league average on the PK and PP, they ranked near the bottom in the league in goals scored. Without a true superstar on their roster, they need to put the puck in the net at a more consistent rate. If they can move into the top 10 in PP statistics, it will go a long way in determining their playoff chances.

3. Top Six Must Produce Offense

Lee Stempniak
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3. Top Six Must Produce Offense

Lee Stempniak
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The Devils may not have a superstar among their top six forwards, but that’s not to say they don’t have talent. Both Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac are very capable of carrying an offense. Henrique and Zajac have both gotten off to great starts this season, scoring nine and eight points respectively. Mike Cammalleri can also net consistent production.

2. Defense Must Dominate

Adam Larsson
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2. Defense Must Dominate

Adam Larsson
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If the New Jersey Devils are known for anything, it's their shutdown defensive prowess. If the Devils are expecting to earn a playoff spot out of the Metro Division, defense will be a big reason why. Adam Larsson is blossoming into the defensive star the Devils expected when they drafted him No. 4 overall in 2011. New pairing John Moore and Damon Severson will also be expecting to shoulder some of load.

1. Cory Schneider Must Remain Elite

Cory Schneider
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1. Cory Schneider Must Remain Elite

Cory Schneider
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When the Devils acquired Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks, they were hoping to find a replacement for the irreplaceable Marty Brodeur. Since coming east from Vancouver, Schneider has been the best player on this team. This year he’s posting a 2.16 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Those are elite goalie stats, showing Schneider can definitely carry the load, and this team, into the postseason.

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