Eastern preview: Devils forced to start over

Eastern preview: Devils forced to start over
September 3, 2013, 8:30 am
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NEW JERSEY DEVILS

2012-13: 19-19-10, 48 points

Where they finished: 5th  in the Atlantic; 11th in the East; 22nd in the NHL

Coach:  Peter DeBoer (3rd season)

Key additions: G Cory Schneider, RW Jaromir Jagr, RW Michael Ryder, LW Ryane Clowe, LW Rostislav Olesz, LW Riley Boychuk

Key subtractions: RW Ilya Kovalchuk,RW David Clarkson,  RW Matt D’Agostini,  RW Matt Anderson, D Henrik Tallinder, D Matthew Corrente, G Johan Hedberg.

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Patrik Elias – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr

Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder

Stephen Gionta – Ryan Carter – Dainius Zubrus

Rostislav Olesz - Andrei Loktionov – Steve Bernier

Defense

Marek Zidlicky – Andy Greene

Adam Larson – Bryce Salvadore

Anton Volchenkov – Mark Fayne

Goaltenders

Marty Brodeur – Cory Schneider

Our take: At 41, is Marty Brodeur finally ready to take a backseat in New Jersey? The NHL’s all-time leader in wins [669], losses [380] shutouts [121 ] and games played [1220] has played fewer than 60 games in four of his last five seasons  and now has a legitimate competitor in Cory Schneider, who was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks at the NHL draft.

Schneider, 27, has spent most of his NHL career behind Roberto Luongo in Vancouver but was acquired to be the bridge to the Devils’ life without Brodeur, who has one year and $4.5 million remaining on his contract.

While goaltending will be an intriguing topic in New Jersey, life without Ilya Kovalchuk may prove to be just as interesting. Kovalchuk bolted for the KHL this summer, leaving behind $77 million. Kovalchuk finished second behind Patrik Elias with 31 points last season and will be replaced by 41-year-old right wing Jaromir Jagr, who could play on a top line with Elias and Travis Zajac.

The Devils replaced heart-and-soul forward David Clarkson with hard-hitting winger Ryane Clowe, who missed all but two playoff games with the Rangers last spring with a concussion.

Long story short, it will be another difficult season in Newark.

Offseason Grade:  C

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14:  No.