Did you ever see The House Bunny with Anna Faris? Remember the scene where the newly made over girls are strutting down the street with some annoying pop song playing in the background with a new look and confidence to match? Change the song to Hells Bells and the street to Prudential Center and those are the New Jersey Devils hitting the ice this week. The Devils are going to be a very different team than they were back in April. General Manager Ray Shero dominated this post season and added a few key components. The list of acquisitions are as follows:
1st Overall Pick: Forward Jack Hughes
I think Jack Hughes is going to have an immediate impact in New Jersey. I’m hoping for McDavid 2.0 but realistically I don’t think it will be that dramatic. I love the idea of having three 1st overall picks on the roster and there is a good mix of veterans, players in their prime, and young guns like Jack. He really impressed during the preseason and I can’t wait to see him on the NHL Network highlight reel.
Norris Trophy Winner: Defenseman P.K. Subban (via trade from Nashville)
For a few days I wasn’t sure how I felt about this trade. Even though Subban is a Norris Trophy winner I don’t immediately think defensive defenseman when I think of P.K. I think he will positively impact the Devils power play but as far as stay at home defenseman, he isn’t the answer (please prove me wrong). I think his personality is a great fit for NJ and I can’t wait to see what he does for the city of Newark. Overall New Jersey is a better team with Subban (duh).
Forward Wayne Simmonds (free agent signing)
Ughh this is a tough one. If you have been following me for any length of time you know that the number 1 player that I can’t stand is Brad Marchand. The second is probably Wayne Simmonds. I never cared for him and I distinctly remember when he was traded to Nashville, my first thought was oh man now I can’t root for the Predators to win the Stanley Cup. I’m sure Simmonds will grow on me once he gets out there and defends Nico and Jack but right now I’m not jumping on the Wayne Train. #SorryKindaNotSorry
Forward Nikita Gusev (via trade from Las Vegas)
I genuinely don’t know enough about Gusev to have an opinion. He was drafted 202 overall by Tampa but has zero NHL experience. I’m not expecting him to come here and put up Artemi Panarin numbers, however I am interested to see how/where he will fit into the lineup. Again, he impressed in preseason but I still don’t know what to expect.
Forward John Hayden (via trade from Chicago)
I’m expecting a bottom six forward to start. Since had made the opening roster I’m already seeing the trade as a win since John Quenneville was assigned to the AHL (he was sidelined during most of training camp with a hip injury).
Those are a lot of pieces that Shero paid very little for. More importantly most of these signings are low risk. Gusev is making $4.5 million per season for 2 years. Wayne Simmonds is making $5 million for only one year. I’m not overly concerned with either of those contracts.
The Devils should and by should I mean hopefully make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Do I think they are a cup contender? No. Do I think they will make it to the Eastern Conference Final? Eh probably not. First round appearance? Yes.
All I know for sure is it’s an exciting time to be a New Jersey Devils fan… there’s been a lot of suffering for hockey fans in New Jersey and regardless of what this season brings we need to remember there is no where to go but up…. but really reintroduce yourself to last years standings.