It's time for another Preseason Preview. This is where we check out the teams going into the season.
Now, the New Jersey Devils.
Team M.O.: This team's built around their goaltender Martin Brodeur and he's one of the best puck moving goaltenders in the history of the NHL. They're also the perfectors of the neutral-zone trap which may bore those who prefer offensive, but get the job done if effectively applied. Their stingy defense was able to win them three cups between 1995-2003 while remaining relevant since the lockout.
Last Season: Sometimes there's surprise upsets and last season, that's what best describes New Jersey's series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. They're going to be taking the upcoming season very seriously despite losing a few components that were key in last seasons success.
Offense: Their production took a hit with Brian Gionta leaving for the Canadiens, but the team still has an excellent forwards in Zach Parise and Patrik Elias. Further, Travis Zajac is taking huge leaps in his development and production while Jamie Langenbrunner, Dainius Zubrus, and a healthy Brian Rolston can provide some solid secondary scoring. Veteran forward Brendan Shanahan will provide leadership while likely working on a third line with Jay Pandolfo David Clarkston. While this team can use Rob Davison as their forward and utility enforcer and promote Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to the team from the minors, these guys are still a depth forward or two short to go without having to lean on their younger guys to get into new roles. It may not be a bad idea to have a veteran faceoff specialist or another solid checker to add before the season starts.
Defense: Paul Martin and Johnny Oduya have been absolutely solid in the Devil's system. Colin White provides a solid top four presence while Bryce Salvador, Mike Mottan, and Andy Greene make good for the bottom-pairings and specialists. Another NHL defenseman couldn't hurt, but they may have to make lemonade from lemons and hope it does well.
Goaltending: Martin Brodeur's getting older, but like Lidstrom seems to keep it together with age. Yann Danis is getting a chance at a regular NHL job for the first time after appearing in 31 games last season with the Islanders. They may do well to find a depth goaltender for next season, though it probably won't be Kevin Weekes.
Expectations: When there's a will, there's a way. New Jersey should at least make the playoffs for the upcoming season based on how well-run of an organization they are. Nevertheless, the Devils fans should hope they have enough to put them over the top. Otherwise, the golf clubs may be coming out earlier than normal this season.