The Rise of the New Jersey Devils: What Contributes to their Success?

November 5, 2018

Since the New Jersey Devils were founded in 1974, fans have experienced three Stanley Cup championships, five jersey retirements, and a fairly constant string of young talent, including the most recent superstar, Nico Hischier. So far this season, the Devils are off to a hot start, and with the help of goaltender Keith Kinkaid and forward Taylor Hall, look to remain in a playoff spot going into the Thanksgiving Break, a crucial point any professional team, especially the Devils.

   So far, the season for the Devils has been filled with unique experiences and opportunities. Starting with Keith Kinkaid stepping up, posting a record of 5-3-1 over his first nine games, and generating a respectable goals-against-average (GAA) statistic, peaking at 2.74 goals per game. Kinkaid also has two shutouts so far this season, one-third of the amount he had during the entire 2017-18 season. Thanks largely to Keith Kinkaid, the team has arguably had one of the most solid starts this season within the last ten years.

   The Devils also made a memorable trip to Gothenburg, Sweden, participating in exhibition games before competing with the Edmonton Oilers, led by young Captain Connor McDavid. The Devils played tough in Sweden, impressing the local crowd, and in the process delivering a 5-2 win, beating the Oilers on their opening night. The trip not only allowed for a win in the standings but also acted as a much-needed bonding opportunity for the team, which is sure to help them in games to come. Nico Hischier commented after the game, “ It’s something special and I couldn’t imagine that it would happen. But in this case, it did. So it’s pretty special and nice.” Surely, the Devils would be eager and willing to play in the Global Series next year, as it was a truly unique experience for all.

Ultimately, the Devils’ success shines a light on their history, and of course, their rebuilding effort over the past couple of seasons. The 2012 loss to the Los Angeles Kings was a pivotal point in the Devils’ effort to rebuild their team. Since losing, the Devils have made some key trades, acquiring Kyle Palmieri and Sami Vatanen from Anaheim, as well as recent additions Ben Lovejoy from Pittsburgh and Drew Stafford from Buffalo. After the Devils had their dreams crushed in the first round of the playoffs last year, their surprising and impressive start to the season instills hope in the players, coaches, and most importantly, the fans, who hope to see their team hoist the cup for the fourth time.

The Devils have fifteen games to play in the month of November, only four of which are at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. If the Devils want to enter the Thanksgiving break on the top of their division, they must battle hard. See the chart attached to this article for a further breakdown of the Devils’ games this season.

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