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Thank You Devils For An Awesome Year. 6 Exciting Things From This Season

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Damn this season was amazing. After a decade of unbridled misery the New Jersey Devils plowed out a team record 52 wins (previous high was 49 back in 06-07) and a team record of 112 points. In the process, ending up with the 3rd best record in the NHL this season and defeating the New York Rangers in 7 after falling down 2-0 in the series (admittedly in embarrassing fashion. I know having lost to Carolina sucks, especially in overtime, I’m with you. But in hindsight there’s a ton to be both proud of now, and excited for going forward. Here we go:

1) They Erased A Decade Of Pain. That time between the Devils Stanley Cup trip and this year was PAIN. Every year, a new hope, a greater disappointment. But that all felt like ancient history as the team made this trip feel so much sweeter for Devils fans who’ve been used to sitting on the sides in April rooting for whichever team was playing the Rangers in the playoffs. As a 40 year Devils fan, this was the sweetest season I’ve ever been part of, and I remember the 80s:

1984 me, complete with my green Devils coat and a dumb look on my face.

2) This Is a YOUNG Team. This to me is even bigger than the first one. At the end of this regular season, the Devils were the 4th youngest team in the NHL, averaging an even 26 years old which adds to the speed the team became respected for. In that youth however, also comes excitement for next season as we discuss some of that youth:

Jack Hughes21 years old99 points (a team record)Under contract until 2030
Nico Hischier24 years old80 pointsUnder contract until 2027
Dawson Mercer21 years old56 pointsRFA in 2024
Luke Hughes19 years old2 points in first two NHL gamesRFA in 2025

Interestingly, it was Jack Hughes and not Captain Nico Hischier that lead the team in points, scoring a team record 99 points in a season and barely being old enough to drink. Both are under contract through the 2027 season which will give us yearly excitement for the next 4 years minimum. Mercer and younger brother Luke Hughes being Restricted Free Agents is a small concern of mine, but it’s unlikely the team would let them walk. But at worst case scenario, that is an exciting look for next season.

4) The Rock Was Rocking During The Playoffs. Sorry about the bad pun but it’s a fact: That last game against Carolina drew 17,016 on a Tuesday night. In a stadium that seats 16,514. That should help shut up haters who say the Devils only have 18 fans a game. Additionally, to that point:

5) A Major Uptick in Regular Season Attendance Also. This season saw average attendance peak over 15,000 for the first time since the 2017-2018 season when they were last in the playoffs. With this squad the should grow from there next season, and challenge the team’s record of 17,296 back in 1997-1998.

You can check out the whole list here where I took a screen cap:

6) They Took Out The Rangers. This one was an a Christmas gift that came in May. Most pundits predicted the Rangers with their playoff experience up to this point would prevail, with some going so far as saying Rangers in 5 games. And for the first two games, it certainly seemed so. But what a difference one goal could make as a game 3 overtime goal gave the Devils their first win in the series and afterwards, taking 3 of the next 4 and taking the series in 4 games. This is HUGE, because with news broadcasts being mainly out of New York and playing in “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in the “World’s Greatest City” (using quotes on purpose there) gives the club a prestige and even arrogance that adds to New Yorkers often looking down on people from “Joisey.” I know, most of my work days are in New York, the trolling of being in Bergen County is commonplace. The Devils taking down the Rangers was a chance to humiliate the popular bully as seen below after game 7 at the Rock:

In the end the team exceeded expectations of many inside the hockey community. In the 4 decades I’ve been following this team they seldom got the respect that was due to them and next year more eyes and expectations will be on them to show that this year wasn’t a fluke. As this season comes to a close for the team from Newark, be three things Devils Fans: Be Proud, Be Excited and Be Ready, for the future is going to be bright.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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