We are nearly a month away from some preseason puck and it seems that, pending the potential signing of Damien Brunner and the re-signing of Adam Henrique, the Devils are done making moves this offseason.
New Jersey missed the playoffs last season for the second time in three years due mainly to the amount of injuries the team suffered and the struggles players had being consistent. Guys like Henrique, Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson had terrible years following a strong 2011-12 season.
With the lockout long in the past and the Devils getting a full training camp in 2013-14, I expect a few players to strive in Pete DeBoer's offense like they did during the team's Cup run. However, there will be some players who don't reach expectations next season.
Here are a few overachievers and underachievers for the 2013-14 season.
Jacob Josefson has had a rough four years in professional hockey.
Despite appearing at the NHL level three different times during his four year career, Josefson has never been able to lock down a spot on the Devils roster.
The main concern for Josefson has been staying healthy as the 22-year-old forward missed time in 2010-11 and 2011-12 due to three different woes. His inconsistency has also forced him down to Albany in each of his four seasons.
Josefson recently got a one-year extension from New Jersey this offseason, but this may be his final chance to find a home with the Devils. I think this is exactly what he needs to push himself.
He's going to be 100 percent healthy coming into training camp and he will get a full offseason to workout with his teammates rather than finding work in the AHL due to the lockout. I think last season's struggles had a lot to do with the work stoppage and getting more work with the NHL team will help his game improve.
Don't expect Josefson to have a 30-goal season on the top-line. That would be unrealistic.
However, I see Josefson getting fourth line minutes and there is a very good chance he could provide some energy and potentially a career-high in points.
Once upon a time, Anton Volchenkov was a very good, highly efficient defenseman in the NHL.
In his first seven NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Volchenkov averaged 61 games, 13.4 points and nearly 18 minutes of ice time per season until he tested the free agent market.
Since coming to New Jersey in 2010-11, Volchenkov has averaged 55.3 games, 8 points and 17 minutes of ice time per season.
Granted, Volchenkov isn't known for his goal scoring ability or the amount of points he puts up in a given season. However, let's take a look at the breakdown of his "strong point," which is hitting (Devils years in bold).
2012-13: 51 (in 37 games, on pace for 102)
You can see that despite being considered the Devils most physical player, Volchenkov's hit numbers are nowhere near where they were when he played in Ottawa. While he averaged nearly 166.4 hits per season in Ottawa, his average has dropped to 134.6 in New Jersey.
You can blame it on age, but Volchenkov is still only 31 and should have some quality years left in the tank. To me, he is not a guy who deserves $4.25 million over the final three years of his contract.
The Devils have a lot of young talent in the system and an amnesty buyout to use before the end of next offseason. I don't think this will be a great year for Volchenkov, so his days in New Jersey could be over.
Not many people have faith in Ryane Clowe, who had more concussions than goals during the 2013 season.
However, if Clowe can stay healthy, I believe he will be an upgrade to David Clarkson at the wing.
Let's look at the breakdown in points between Clowe and Clarkson dating back to 2008.
Clowe: 52 in 71 games
Clarkson: 32 in 82 games
Clowe: 57 in 75 games
Clarkson: 24 in 46 games
Clowe: 62 in 75 games
Clarkson: 18 in 82 games
Clowe: 45 in 76 games
Clarkson: 46 in 80 games
Clowe: 19 in 40 games (68 games in full season)
Clarkson: 24 in 48 games (82 games in full season)
Clowe: 47 points / 73 games per season
Clarkson: 28 points / 74 games per season
Over five seasons, Clowe has nearly doubled Clarkson's average points while playing in nearly the same amount of games. Injuries may be an issue for Clowe, but having a full offseason to recover should get him back to speed by opening night.
After getting traded to the Rangers late last season, Clowe snapped out of his funk and had three goals in 12 games. A change of scenery was necessary for the 30-year-old forward, and I believe the Devils giving him a chance will help his confidence and elevate his game.
In a perfect world, Clowe will reach his career average of 47 points this season, which would have put him fifth on the team in scoring back in 2011-12 (ahead of Clarkson).
The Devils will need Clowe to play to his full potential, and I believe if he stays healthy he will overachieve and prove his doubters wrong.
Don't expect big things from Marek Zidlicky in 2013-14.
The Devils brought back Zidlicky this offseason for two reasons. First, it gives the organization one more year to groom their young defenseman. Second, Kovalchuk left a gaping hole in the power play.
The 36-year-old d-man had a -12 plus-minus, a mediocre shot percentage of 4 percent (second lowest since 2007-08) and a career worst three total point share (estimated number of points created by a player) in 2012-13.
Ten of his 15 total assists last season did come on the power play, but the unit as a whole finished 21st in the league with a 15.9 percent rate.
Without Kovalchuk, Zidlicky is going to be heavily relied on to carry the power play and point goals on the board with the man advantage. However, I don't think an aging d-man can be relied to carry this heavy of a load.
Zidlicky will also be dealing with the rise of Adam Larsson, who in my opinion is a much better puck handler and deserves to see extensive time on the power play.
With new assistant coach Mike Foligno in place to run the power play, he is going to want to put the best player on the ice at all times. If Zidlicky struggles, don't be surprised to see guys like Larsson, Adam Greene or Bryce Salvador.
Zidlicky has seen a decline in his point production the past three seasons (24, 22, 19) and I don't expect him to do much again this year.
With Henrik Tallinder being sent to Buffalo and a spot opening up in the lineup, I believe this will be Adam Larsson's year.
Larsson has had a hard time finding a starting role in New Jersey after suffering an injury in 2011-12 that sidelined him for a few weeks. Peter Harrold took much of his ice time away during the Devils Cup run and he didn't see much time during the lockout shortened season.
Harrold is still on the roster, but I don't see Peter DeBoer sitting Larsson again in favor of Harrold. Harrold only managed five points and a minus-8 in 23 games while Larsson had six points and a plus-4 in 37 games.
I strongly believe given the playing time that Larsson can become a top-four defensemen in this organization and provide strong puck movement at the blue line similar to the early days of Scott Niedermayer.
There's no way to prove that Larsson is a Hall of Fame quality defensemen yet, but I believe if he can prove himself and get enough playing time, he will have a career year in 2013-14.