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How the disappointing Devils went from rebuilding to competing

2019-04-21

The NJ Devils and its fans faced many struggles over the years being stuck in an endless cycle of losing in games and counting on the draft lottery to take therm to their long awaited spot into the playoffs; however, it was not draft picks that lead NJ to a contentionship it was the teams' drive to win and the hiring of a GM that come out of nowhere. 

Rookie GM Zachary Maidment came into the NHLSL with a team that was set for the future with only a couple of years more of losing and when we asked what was his initial plans with the Devils when he came into the league he said,

"Honestly I was prepared to stick with the rebuild, we had promising prospects in Comtois, Frost and others but the team just kept winning and i knew the core guys in the locker room wanted to make the playoffs more than anything so I went after what our team need most... a number one centerman."

And Maidment acquired Matt Duchene from the Senators in what we consider his first major trade, and since being acquired Captain Evgeni Malkin and Matt Duchene have been the power couple of league as Duchene accumulated 52 points in his 50 games as a Devil while being a large contribution to Malkin's 95 point season. Maidment's trading habits continued as he acquired heavy hitter Josh Manson from the Washington Capitals, Dadanov from the San Jose Sharks, and young stud Jake Guentzel from the Detroit Wings. Those were just some of the big trades for Maidment who has gone on to make 13 trades in total this year, totally reshaping the Devils team.

The Devils managed to clinch a playoff spot in the east while putting up a good fighrt for the third seed in the metro falling just short of veteran GM Jack's Blue Jackets. The Devils went on to set the franchise record for most wins in a single season recording 44 wins and reaching the 100 pt mark. The unexpected playoff contenders aren't really feeling the pressure as much as you'd expect tho as Evgeni Malkin pointed out,

"No one expected we be playoff team...um... we face good Tampa team...um...they must win...and... they have bunch of guys on last year contract, us we have team for few years...um...we can win we just play our hockey, score on them...don't let score on us." 

Even with longshots odds both coach Babcock and GM Maidment don't seem to be worrying, both said they're confident in their system and the players are all excited to be in the playoffs. "This team and more importantly fanbase has seen enough losing" said Babcock, "We're going to go into game 1 put everything we have into and go from there."

New Jersey isn't without it's problems though Frederick Andersen has recorded a 0.896 save % while Jacob Markstrom has played excellent recording a .926%. When asked Babcock said, "Freddy is our guy, simple as that."

The New Jersey Devils certainly have been an interesting story this year and the big question is will the Devils persevere or will the Bolts zap them out of the playoffs.

This is Snooki from Jersey Shore News, good night and hopefully we'll get to see an exciting series.