Questions for 2013

With the 2013 season starting in just a few hours, there are still many surprising questions remaining for a team that was 2 wins away from a Stanley Championship. The loss of THE PLAYER WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED hurts for sure but that’s not the only question.

1. Who and where are they going to get scoring?

This is easily the biggest question coming into the year. By losing arguably their best player to free agency this summer, the Devils have an enormous hole to fill. To ask Ilya Kovalchuk to carry all of that load is unfair. It’s a matter of who will step up this year. It looks like 2012 1st round pick Stefan Matteau will be starting the season with the big club. Although it may be an extended tryout as he will probably be sent back to his junior team after 5 games. That leaves Mattias Tedenby, the Devils’ 1st round pick in 2010. This is his 3rd, and probably last, chance to really show what he’s got and if he can be a star in this league. He has the ability. He just needs to put it together.

2. What will be the biggest factor with the shortened season?

Injuries. Injuries. Injuries. With a 48 game season, being out for even a month can be detrimental to the team. And with the numerous back-to-back games on the schedule, staying healthy is tantamount to any teams’ success this year. Not just the Devils’. Hopefully Adam Henrique comes back on schedule and that Jacob Josefson stays healthy. He’s been very injury prone the past 2 seasons. Hopefully it’s just bad luck and that he’s not made of glass. The depth of the defensive corps can play into the health of this team as well. With 8 very viable D-men on the roster, you may see some switching out here and there to keep guys fresh and as healthy as possible.

3. What moves, if any, can we expect from Lou?

Lou has said before that after 20 games you take a look at your team and see where you stand. With this shortened season, it has to be after 10 games. There is so much room for error with a short season that if you go into a prolonged slump at any time you can kiss the playoffs goodbye. I mentioned the depth of the Devils D corps. That also exists in the minors as well. To say the Devils are stacked on D for the future is a bit of an understatement. There are many trade chips available here in a position that is the most sought after of any organization. If Tedenby can’t cut it and the Devils are having trouble scoring goals I wouldn’t put it past Lou to use those chips and grab a 2nd line scoring winger for the stretch run.

4. Can the Devils repeat as Eastern Conference Champions?

Honestly, who the hell knows? To make ANY prediction in this season is like a man entering a butt-kicking contest with one leg…it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Over an 82 game season a team can overcome injuries and a slow start, and vice versa. You can sacrifice a game or two for the long run. With a short season like this, every single game matters. This is a race to get into the playoffs. There are maybe 3 teams in the East that are locks for the playoffs and those are the Rangers, Bruins, and Penguins. Outside of those three it could be any combination. If the Devils can figure out how to “replace” that scoring output from that certain player who left to go back home to Minnesota (I’m not bitter, nope) then they have as good a chance as any team.

This is going to be like the season after the last lockout. You won’t know what to expect so just hold on and try and enjoy the ride.

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Posted on January 19, 2013, in New Jersey Devils and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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