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New Jersey Devils Stock Up/Stock Down: It’s Over

Well, that’s a wrap on the 2023-24 season for the New Jersey Devils. Since our last stock up/stock down, the Devils finished out their season by going 2-3-1 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs after a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. This season was a disaster for the Devils – plain and simple. In a season that was begging for a team to take the final Wild Card spot, the Devils crumbled. After a historic 2022-23 season, they took a major step back, leading to one of the most important off-seasons in franchise history.

The Devils sleptwalk through the final stretch of games. Outside of a thrilling 6-5 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they brought no juice. They finished the season with a 38-39-5 record, good for 81 points. All eyes turn to GM Tom Fitzgerald as he has many important decisions regarding coaching and personnel.

New Jersey Devils Stock Up/Stock Down

Stock Up

Jesper Bratt

Back-to-back weeks Jesper Bratt finishes in our top stock-up spot, and for good reason. Bratt finished the final six games by recording seven points. He also silenced a lot of critics by setting a new career high with 83 points. Plenty of fans and outside noise were skeptical that Bratt was worth the $63 million contract he signed last summer, and all he did was bring consistency over all 82 games. He was durable, reliable, and one of the only constant attacking threats on the team. It turned out to be a big year for Bratt and one that solidified himself as a leader on the team and a reliable player moving forward.

Stock Down

Jack Hughes’s Health

It was fairly evident that Jack Hughes played the majority of the season hurt. He ended up missing a total of 20 games, but even after returning from his second stint on IR, he was relatively ineffective. That being said, a “relatively ineffective” Jack Hughes still managed to score 74 points, but it was obvious he was injured. He was shy to take on contact, his stickhandling was much worse, and he often deferred to teammates. Everything made sense though when the team shut him down before the last few games and sent him to get shoulder surgery. The hope is he can be back by the start of next season, but the bigger discussion is his overall health. Hughes has now missed time every season of his professional career, primarily with shoulder injuries. How he responds to surgery essentially determines the fate of the Devils and his career.

Stock Up

The All-82 Club

In a season that was mired by injuries, there should be some recognition for this year’s All-82 club. The Devils had just five players play in all 82 games this season, and some may surprise you. As we mentioned before, Bratt was a model of consistency and durability throughout the season. Another model of durability is Dawson Mercer. Mercer ended with underwhelming point totals but has now played 82 games in each of his first three seasons, the first to do so in franchise history.

Kevin Bahl is the next to play all games which is something he desperately needed after only playing a bit part over the last two seasons. Another member on the backend and brother of Jack, Luke Hughes finished his rookie year playing in all 82. There were as many highs as there were lows, but for a 19/20-year-old to go from college hockey to the full grind of an NHL season and come out unscathed is a massive achievement. And finally the biggest surprise of the All-82 club, Alexander Holtz. Holtz was at the centre of much controversy surrounding Lindy Ruff this year. Yet he was able to do enough to stick it out in the lineup, even if it meant less ice time. Making it through every game of an NHL season is incredibly commendable, especially for all these young players.

Stock Down

Travis Green

Green was on our stock down last time around and he finds himself here again. After taking over for Lindy Ruff on an interim basis, Green only mustered up an 8-12-1 record. Tom Fitzgerald has said he will give Green an interview for the full-time role, but he’s a huge long shot to return to the job. It also doesn’t help his case that in the following sentence, Fitzgerald also said he owes it to ownership to look outside the organization for a head coach. Green never provided the “new coach bump” they needed to make a last-minute playoff push, and had it not been for very good goaltending, his record would likely be worse. It was a smart hire at the time, but Green’s days as Devils coach are probably over.

Main photo by: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports


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