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Everyone has their own wishlist for the holidays. Some have a few things they want. Others might prioritize a couple they need.
The New Jersey Devils, a team with 10 wins through 30 games, certainly have many in the latter category.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
A useful power play
We’re likely past the point of no return for the Devils. Improving from 32nd in goal differential on the man advantage to, say, 16th is not going to save the team’s season. They need a lot more than a useful power play to right this ship. Even so, it has to be at or near the top of the team’s wish list.
The PP plagued the Devils a season ago. Despite better personnel – PP ace Dougie Hamilton is in the fold, Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt and co. are another year into their development, etc. – the team is somehow even more inept on the man advantage.
Only the Arizona Coyotes have scored fewer PP goals this season. They’re two back of New Jersey and the latter has spent nearly 20 more minutes up a man. Meanwhile, no team has allowed more shorthanded goals than New Jersey.
The Devils are but +5 through 30 games. They’ve had what equates to 73 power plays. They are +5 in that time. Put another way, they need 14.6 power play opportunities to outscore their opponents by one goal. Pathetic.
As bad as the numbers are, the Devils look even more miserable. They are completely lost and it legitimately feels like the life of their play gets sucked out of the game when they get a power play. That’s really not how it should be.
Again, the season is likely lost at this point. But getting things right could make the team more competitive down the stretch, help get on the right track heading into next season, and give the skill players some much needed confidence.
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