New Jersey Devils: Indicators that make them 2020 playoff contenders

New Jersey Devils. Taylor Hall. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils. Taylor Hall. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils have lots of question marks. They have the tools to fix them. If they do, the franchise can succeed again.

The 2018-19 season for the New Jersey Devils was a disappointing one, to say the least. Finishing almost at the bottom of the entire league, with 72 points, will cause a lot of fans to question whether GM Ray Shero even has a plan for the franchise. After the Devils were awarded the number one overall draft pick, it seems a plan fell into his lap, and that was to make the playoffs again in 2020.

Assuming the Devils will take Jack Hughes, he provides a big boost that the Devils desperately need. Nico Hischier has seemed to slow down from his first year in New Jersey. He’s had a decrease in goals, assists, and points. If the Devils decide to draft Hughes with their first pick, it would make sense to push Hughes to the second line with Jesper Bratt, who was sporting 8 goals 25 assists and 33 points, and Miles Wood who had 10 goals, 14 assists, and 24 points.

Since both Miles Wood (23) and Jesper Bratt (20) are very young they will all have time to grow with Hughes and reach their full potential together. The plan is to make all of them a threat on the ice as an effective second line. The first line is Nico Hischier, Taylor Hall, who had 11 goals and 37 total points, and Kyle Palmieri, who had 27 goals, and 23 assists.

While this trio would remain the top line, Wood, Bratt, and Hughes have the possibility to relieve some of the pressure that the former number one overall pick is experiencing. Hischier is still very young and still has the potential to take over the league the same as Jack Hughes does.  Injuries did affect many of these players such as Taylor Hall, who missed 47 games and Kyle Palmieri who was having a good year before he went down with a knee injury.

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Hall is going into his contract year. He is due for a huge raise. The former Hart Trophy winner is eyeing New Jersey to upgrade around him. He has said the one thing this team is lacking in is talent in certain positions. By drafting Jack Hughes, that could be the talent he needs to stay and help New Jersey contend for a playoff spot.

While it was a disappointing year all around, the New Jersey Devils front office saw the problems that occurred and may know how to fix it. The team was very inconsistent on powerplays. After Hall went down, it exposed NJD, as they looked for him to be the difference maker.

This issue should have Shero looking for more depth in the offseason to be ready for scenarios like that to happen. If the Devils GM wants a plan going into this offseason besides having Jack Hughes on the team, one player he should look to sign is Jordan Eberle. The right winger has 190 career goals, he could give New Jersey a needed offensive boost.

New Jersey needs more people that can get points on the board and step up when bigger players go down. If the Devils are aggressive in the offseason, this will be a big sign they could be playing in the postseason.

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Many of factors went into the Devils not living up to expectations like they did the previous year. If injuries can be limited, and if the depth is there, this could give Ray Shero a plan going into the future and give fans hope.