The New Jersey Devils have been of the biggest stories throughout the 2022-2023 NHL regular season thus far. New Jersey put their test on the road on Monday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. The Devils trailed 2-0 early, but they rallied to win 5-3 over the Rangers.
At the current moment, the New Jersey Devils have the top record in the NHL. In 23 games played so far this season, New Jersey has a 19-4 record with 38 points. They are on track to have one of the best records ever, but it remains to be seen. A lot of credit goes to head coach Lindy Ruff and associate head coach Andrew Brunette.
Ruff throughout the first couple of games heard the fire Lindy Ruff chants at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. About a month later, they chanted sorry Lindy. Just last week, the Devils were going for 14 straight wins at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs before they were hosed by the referees because three goals were overturned.
It led to the fanbase throwing things on the ice. This is the most passionate this fanbase has been about this hockey team for a very long time. New Jersey has not been to the playoffs since 2017-2018 and this team has the feels of a 2003-like team, where they last won it all in seven games against the Anaheim Ducks.
Those were the days of Martin Brouder, Patrick Elias, Scott Sevens, Ken Daneyko, and Scott Niedermayer. Those teams had an elite blueline and goaltending. This appears to be the case with the 2022-2023 New Jersey Devils, except with a lot more speed and skill up front.
It all starts with Jack Hughes, who scored another ridiculous goal on Monday night. He is by far their best player and is becoming a superstar player right before our very eyes. This is why Hughes was a number one overall pick back in 2019. Here was his goal from the other night:
Jack Hughes has played in 23 games so far this season for New Jersey. He has scored 12 goals, and recorded 14 assists, and his plus/minus rating is 10. Hughes is on pace to be an All-Star this season.
Jesper Bratt has also played in 23 games so far this season for the Devils. He has scored eight goals and has recorded 18 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of 13. Bratt is going to get paid this offseason and can be an all-star also.
Nico Hischier is the captain of the New Jersey Devils. He has scored 10 goals and has recorded 15 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of 15. Hischier could also become a first-time all-star this season.
New Jersey has one of the best bluelines in the NHL. The Devils' best move this offseason was trading for defenseman John Marino from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Ty Smith, a defenseman, and a third-round NHL Draft pick in 2023. That was a major win for general manager Tom Fitzgerald. John Marino in 23 games played so far this season has only scored two goals and has recorded six assists, but has a plus/minus rating of 15.
A lot of Pittsburgh Penguins fans were unhappy with the move this past off-season. This was a massive gain for the New Jersey Devils. John Marino is shutting down the other team's top-tier stars on the first line every single night they are playing a game in as well.
It appears as if New Jersey finally found their number-one goaltender in Vitek Vanecek. He was signed as a free agent this past offseason after he started his career with the Washington Capitals. In 15 games played so far this season, Vanecek has an 11-2 record with a .923 save percentage and a 2.12 GAA, along with one shutout.
Despite their early season success, they are ranked 25th in the NHL on the power play at 19.4%. They are ranked eighth in the NHL on the penalty kill percentage at 81.8%. The New Jersey Devils hope to continue their success into the month of December in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference.
If they keep this up, they will win the Presidents' Trophy. Andrew Brunette won that with the Florida Panthers a season ago and Lindy Ruff has also won that in the past with the Buffalo Sabres.
The last time New Jersey was in the Stanley Cup Finals was back in 2012 against the Los Angeles Kings before losing to them in six games. If the Devils get back there this season, they hope it is a different result this time around for the three-time Stanley Cup Champions franchise as well here.
The New Jersey Devils next game will be at home on Thursday, December 1st against the Nashville Predators (9-9-2 record, 20 points so far this season).