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Devils At The Quarter Mark

We’ve often been handed the excuse that it’s not about how you start but rather how you finish. After last year’s frustrating season that ended with the Devils being a few points out of a playoff spot, I think it’s safe to say that your start, middle and end are extremely important. At times, the 2014-15 Devils have looked good through their first 21 games of the season but at times they look sluggishly slow and have absolutely no offense.

The quarter mark is a place where all GM’s evaluate their team but when you look at the Devils, I think it is safe to say they are basically the same team they’ve been for the last year.

I think the surprise issue to most this season was the lack of success on the penalty kill. I know it was questioned because the Devils have been so strong on the PK for quite some time but you have to look at the whole picture. You have to take into account that young guys on the D need time to learn, Brodeur is not in net anymore (an obvious change on the PK) and this game constantly changes so what worked in the past doesn’t always continue to work every year. While you can’t pin point the PK issues on one person, you can’t help but also mention that the PK has improved since the injury to Salvador has kept him out of the lineup

So while Lou is busying making his evaluations, I thought it would be the time and place to do the same. Just a quick note, I am only commenting on guys that have played a minimum of 10 games.

Goaltending

Cory Schneider – playing WAY too much and really hasn’t shown me any reason why DeBoer should continue to play him night in and night out.

Scott Clemmensen – 1 game played is not enough to evaluate him. Looked decent in Calgary but lost the game to which some will argue if he played more, maybe that wouldn’t have happened.

Offense

Mike Cammelleri – The one shining star on this team so far this season. Enough good can’t be said about him

Jaromir Jagr – Not playing like he did last season. At times will make a brilliant move, pass or shot but then there will be times where he looks his age.

Travis Zajac – Top line center with 4 goals and 4 assists through the first quarter of the season. Enough said because he is not a top line center. Never has been, never will be.

Adam Henrique – Missed time for an injury which hurt NJ. 6 goals and 6 assists in 16 games is something you will certainly be happy with. Needs to stay healthy.

Patrik Elias – Looks old, slow and not the least bit interested this season, yet still plays quite a bit each night (between 15-20 minutes a night).

Martin Havlat – He has missed a chunk because of injury so it’s hard to say what he is. At times he looks ok but the Elias/Havlat chemistry is something I am just not seeing.

Tuomo Rutuu – 5 goals and 1 assist through 21 games. Can you really ask any more from Rutuu??

Jacob Josefson – a complete waste. Theres a whole list of other names I’d rather see instead of Josefson.

Michael Ryder – 4th on the team in goals. Continues to be the streaky player that he was last season but sadly he’s still one of the better guys out on the ice.

Danius Zubrus – A complete waste and I am so done with him. Has size but all that seems to mean is that he just takes up more space on the ice

Stephen Gionta – Always seems to give his entire effort while out on the ice. To me, he will never be more than a 4th liner but that is where he is good.

Ryan Clowe – Worst signing ever. I get that health issues are a concern and you feel bad for the guy but it’s getting to the point where it looks like his head issues are so severe that he can’t compete at this level. You feel bad for the guy but it happens.

Defense

Andy Greene – 6 assists and a +6 on the ice. Plays the most time of any defender on the team. Still not sure why #6 doesn’t wear the “C.”

Damon Severson – He’s young, he’ll make mistakes, sometimes shoot when he probably shouldn’t but he’s a joy to watch. Leads all defenseman in goals and is 2nd in points. No doubt in my mind that of all the guys on the team, he should be the Devil in Columbus come All-Star Weekend.

Marek Zidlicky – He ability on the PP is really the only reason I want him on the ice. He ABSOLUTELY shouldn’t be paired with Gelinas

Eric Gelinas – Great offensive ability but I think he’s a huge liability on defense, which him being a defender is not a good thing. Paired with Zidlicky it certainly can get ugly out there.

Adam Larsson – Finally it seems the Devils are allowing him to develop at the NHL level. He’s not great, makes mistakes but he’s learning and the only way he will learn is to just leave him in there. He has looked decent when paired with Helgeson.

Jon Merril – We haven’t seen him for almost a month due to IR. He is a guy I would like to see back in the lineup as soon as we can

Bryce Salvador – A complete waste of space and a waste of time to even write about. Needs to be traded and stripped of his “C.”

Ryan Clowe – Worst signing ever. I get that health issues are a concern and you feel bad for the guy but it’s getting to the point where it looks like his head issues are so severe that he can’t compete at this level. You feel bad for the guy but it happens.

Coaching Staff

Pete DeBoer – His time has come. We haven’t done well with him at the helm except for the trip to the finals back in 2012 but that team was a completely different team with a 1-2 punch in shootouts with Kovalchuk and Parise on the ice. My Christmas wish list has 1 name on it and that would be Dan Bylsma.

About Darren

Darren is a long time fan of the New Jersey Devils and had been covering the New Jersey Devils for various websites before starting up Running With The Devils in the fall of 2009.