Team Profile: The New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils have certainly been through a lot to get to the point where they are now. A team that kind of flies under the radar in recent years, they have an interesting, if not tumultuous, history.

  • Located in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Founded in 1974
  • Located in Newark, NJ
  • Arena: Prudential Center
  • Owner: New Jersey Devils, LLC
  • GM: Ray Shero
  • Head Coach: John Hynes
  • Captain: Andy Greene
  • Minor League Affiliate: Albany Devils
  • Stanley Cups: 3

And here’s a bit of their history:

The team was one of 2 expansion teams awarded by the NHL that year, the Washington Capitals being the second. The current day NJ Devils were first introduced in Kansas City, MO as the Kansas City Scouts. Due to poor performances by the team as well as difficulty in drawing in fans, the Scouts were relocated to Denver Colorado after 2 seasons. There, they were renamed the Colorado Rockies. They continued to post a rather abysmal record. After 6 seasons (in which they only made the playoffs once, getting eliminated in the first round), they were bought out and moved to Newark, New Jersey. In order to be able to move, the franchise had to compensate the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, and the Philadelphia Flyers due to their proximity.

Once relocated, the team was renamed the New Jersey Devils after the legend of the Jersey Devil.

About 6 years after they relocated, in the 1987-1988 season, the Devils earned the franchise’s first winning record, beating the Chicago Blackhawks in OT in order to secure the last playoff spot in the division over the New York Rangers. This would be the first time the franchise made it to the post-season as the Devils. They were able to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost to the Bruins in 7 games.

The off-season saw the signing of Viacheslav Fetisov and Sergei Starikov, which helped usher in Soviet players in the NHL (Go watch Of Miracles and Men on Netflix. Absolutely fascinating).

After a couple of setbacks, and led by players such as legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Claude Lemieux (among others), the Devils finally won the Stanley Cup Championship for the first time in 1995. Following this victory, the Devils allowed each player a day with the Stanley Cup during the off-season, a tradition that has been embraced by all teams since then.

In 2000 they won the Stanley Cup for the second time by defeating the defending champions, the Dallas Stars (boooooo).

The team won its’ most recent Stanley Cup in 2003, beating the Mighty Ducks in 7 games.

The Devils made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs every season after that until 2011, which broke a 13 year streak. During this streak they failed to advance past the 2nd round.

In 2012 they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 9 years. That season had seen 7 players scoring 40 or more points, with Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, David Clarkson and newly named captain Zach Parise scoring 30 or more goals. Parise, by the way, signed a 13 year contract with the Minnesota Wild during the off-season, leaving the team after being captain for only one season. During the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils avoided being swept by the eventual champions, the LA Kings, but still lost in 5 games.

In 2013, the Devils lost Kovalchuk to retirement, as well as Clarkson to Toronto. With the loss of the offensive power, the Devils brought in Jaromir Jagr, who despite being 41 at the time led the team in scoring. During this time the franchise was in such financial trouble that they needed to borrow money in order to pay their staff. The team was eventually sold to Josh Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, and David S. Blitzer.

In 2013 the Devils acquired Cory Schnieder from the Vancouver Canucks. He split goaltending duties with Brodeur until 2014, when Brodeur signed with the St. Louis Blues. He only played a handful of games before announcing his retirement. Brodeur broke the NHL record for most wins in the regular season (although Holtby managed to tie the record this past season).

Somewhat lagging offensively, the Devils failed to make the playoffs this past season. However they seem to be addressing this already by acquiring Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson. Which until the Subban-Weber trade had been the biggest news of the off-season. For all of 15 minutes. 

Notable Players:

  • Patrik Elias
  • Martin Brodeur
  • Ilya Kovalchuk
  • David Clarkson
  • John MacLean
  • Scott Stevens
  • Scott Niedermayer
  • Claude Lemiux
  • Scott Gomez
  • Cory Schnieder
  • Adam Henrique
Martin Brodeur at the unveiling of his statue during his jersey retirement ceremony

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