The past few weeks have made it blindingly clear that Devils head coach Pete DeBoer is stuck with a group of players who collectively have the skill, but not the talent required to reach the playoffs.
New Jersey missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 1996 and there is no guarantee that new coach Peter DeBoer can get them back with a team that has some talent but a lot more question marks.
Before anyone tries to run this guy out of town before training camp even starts, let’s look at why Lamoriello overlooked established guys like Ken Hitchcock, Guy Carbonneau, and Michel Therrien to hire DeBoer.
The Devils have named former Florida Panthers coach Peter DeBoer as their new head coach. The team made the announcement at the Prudential Center in Newark on Tuesday.
This was a weird season for the Devils — and it could be just as awkward in free agency. They don’t have a lot room in payroll, but there’s certainly enough to grab two players: Vinny Prospal and Anton Babchuk.
Let’s break down the Devils’ main areas of concern as we head into what figures to be a pivotal summer for Lou Lamoriello and company.
The Devils found themselves in an eerily dark Prudential Center Monday morning, clearing out their lockers and heading home, a situation that the franchise had not experienced since 1996.
Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire’s exit was hardly unexpected. The Chicago Blackhawks’ near departure was almost a much bigger stunner. A similar scenario played out for the Rangers this weekend.
“I’m going back where I was before,” Lemaire said after going out a winner following a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. “It demands a lot and I want to enjoy life. I want to enjoy the family.”
Vladimir Zharkov and Alexander Urbom scored third-period goals and the New Jersey Devils posted a 3-2 victory over the playoff-bound Boston Bruins on Sunday in what was Jacques Lemaire’s final game as their coach.
That was quick. After battling a lengthy rehab only to return for one game, Devils left wing Zach Parise will sit out the remainder of the season.
There are just 10 games remaining for the Devils in the 2010-11 regular season and they will need a big finish if they are to maintain their streak of 13 straight post-season appearances.
After suffering back-to-back losses, the Devils put themselves in a position where they may have to win 9 out of the 10 remaining games …and that still might not be enough to get them in the playoffs.
In losing to the basement-dwelling Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, the Devils lost more than just a hockey game. They lost their air of invincibility.
The Devils have inched within eight points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. A matchup with the league-worst Ottawa Senators could help them continue their incredible run.