5 Offseason Moves the Devils Need to Make to Get Back to the Playoffs

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5 Offseason Moves the Devils Need to Make to Get Back to the Playoffs
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Patrik Elias is one of several key free agents.

The New Jersey Devils can't afford to go into next season with the same roster. Not if they want to avoid missing the playoffs for the third time in four years—something seemingly unthinkable for hockey fans of the past 20 years.

The offense doesn't scare anyone. The team is just plain old. Changes need to be made, and there are realistic ways to do that. 

Lou Lamoriello and ownership probably aren't going to blow anybody away with a seismic trade or free-agent signing. This year's crop is thin to begin with.

In house, there are some crucial decisions to be made regarding their own free agents. Patrik Elias, David Clarkson, Dainius Zubrus and Marek Zidlicky are unrestricted. It is highly unlikely all of these players will be back. Selectivity will be key.   

If Ilya Kovalchuk can stay healthy and the organization applies the lessons learned from 2013 into the offseason, New Jersey can return to the playoffs and restore balance and order to the universe.

Here are five moves the Devils would be wise to make.

(Contract and salary cap numbers from Capgeek and stats from nhl.com)

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