Here we go, the New Jersey Devils 2014-15 season is about to get underway and do so in a very familiar place. The Devils have met the Philadelphia Flyers 225 times in the regular season with the Flyers leading the series 107-100-18. The last time the Devils met the Flyers to open their season was the 2011-12 season and the Flyers blanked NJ 3-0.
What’s changed for NJ: A few changes were made during the offseason but the biggest one you have to mention would be the decision to not bring Marty Brodeur back to NJ. (Don’t worry, this will be the last time we mention Brodeur unless he a) comes back b) signs elsewhere and plays NJ or c) retires.) It’s the right decision as it is time to move on. The Devils sign Schneider to a long term deal which mean goaltending won’t be an issue for years to come. The addition of Cammalleri should provide some goals and Havlat is an inexpensive pickup that could prove to be useful. Tootoo, who signed this week adds some size and grit that the Devils have been lacking.
What’s changed for Philadelphia: Super pest Scott Hartnell was dealt to Columbus for R.J. Umberger who returns to Philadelphia for his second tour of duty. The Flyers have cap space issues which has prevented them from making any significant moves during the offseason. Philadelphia added defenseman Michael Del Zoto to try and help what appears to be a mediocre defense.
What to watch: I expect the Metropolitan Division to be competitive this season so it is important for NJ to get off to a great start. We will know more after the first 20 games of the season but if the Devils aren’t playing .500 hockey at the minimum through the first 20, things could get away from them.
The top line of Cammalleri –Zajac – Jagr have looked good and chemistry is always a work in progress. Hopefully DBO gives this line the time it needs to get going because it has potential but with Jagr up there, no matter what his age you know you are going to get something from him.
The Devils have really made the statement this year that youth on the blue line is the way to go. The Devils decided that keeping Severson in NJ and sending Peter Harrold to Albany was the way to go. Will it last? Only time will tell but I certainly have a hard time arguing with Lou’s decision to let the youth be the focus on D. My only argument is that the Devils aren’t young enough back there and that Bryce Salvador should certainly be traded to another team in order to bring up someone else.
It is time for Cory Schneider to shine. He signed a long term deal over the summer and this is now his team. Many have already thrown his name into the ring for a Vezina nod which would be a great thing but let’s first see how he does as “the guy.”
Lines: We have to believe that the lines tonight will look something like this
NHL 15 Prediction: Throughout the year we will use NHL 15 to simulate our games prior to the real game being played. The Devils knocked off the Flyers in Philadelphia 3-2 in OT. Zajac and Clowe scored the regulation time goals with Eric Gelinas putting home an absolute bomb of a shot in OT.