Heading into last season, there was reason to be very optimistic in Newark. The Devils had a new coach, John MacLean, and had just signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a monster deal that all but guaranteed he would be a Devil for life. What a difference a few months made.
We all know the horror story of the first half of the Devils 2010-11 campaign. The injury to Parise, Kovalchuk and Brodeur's struggles, MacLean's dismissal, and the losses; the numerous, humiliating losses.
Now, a year later, after a miraculous turnaround in the second half, there is reason to be optimistic again in New Jersey. Here are seven keys to the Devils being a contender again in the 2011-2012 season.