2013 was a down year for the New Jersey Devils. After a scorching start, the Devils finished the lockout-shortened season with a 19-19-10 record. It was the first time the Devils had ever ended the season at the bottom of the Atlantic Division.
CEO, team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello is not one to stand for such indignities. Changes were almost assuredly coming, but the biggest story of the NHL's offseason was outside of New Jersey's control.
When star winger Ilya Kovalchuk decided to retire from the NHL to return to Russia, the Devils went from a team on the mend to a team in crisis. Last year, New Jersey struggled to score in the second half of the season, and their special teams were an issue they were never able to fully resolve.
Kovalchuk was a vital asset to the team's offense, power play and penalty kill. With his departure from the club, filling those areas of need became that much more vital.
Every player on the team will need to step up their games if the Devils are to make any kind of run this year. Lou Lamoriello and the Devils' front office have signed players they think can do that.
The offseason is not over yet, and there is still some work to be done, but let's take a look at some of the best moves the New Jersey Devils have made so far.