The Devils are looking to get back to the playoffs after missing the 2011 postseason, which ended a streak of 13 straight playoff appearances. Being a bubble team will not cut it in the Eastern Conference, as they will have competition from the Canadiens and the Washington Capitals for the remaining playoff spot.
The team could stand to get younger on offense, as leading scorer Elias is 35 years old, while Zubrus is 33. New Jersey could also use a power-play specialist and an offensive defenseman.
However, the Devils have a lot of money tied up in Ilya Kovalchuk and Anton Volchenkov, who are inconsistent performers, so finding the money to make a move could be difficult.
In addition, DeBoer should consider giving Kinkaid a chance in goal. He has earned it with his play in the minors, and even if he plays against a weak opponent, it will still give him NHL experience. Brodeur and Hedberg aren’t going to be around forever, and at some point, the Devils have to look at a possible netminder of the future.
Right now, the Devils are just average, and “just average” teams don’t make the playoffs. And if they do, they don’t get very far.
Overall Grade: C+
This article also appears at The Hockey Writers.