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(Page 20 of 249)
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Devils' lineup boasts depth up front, youth on defense

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Since the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the Kings have played 44 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won a second championship in three seasons.

That is 44 more games than the Devils, who missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1985-86 and 1986-87. Ten of the 24 players who appeared in at least one playoff game during New Jersey's 2012 run remain with the team.

The two stars of that 2012 group, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, left in successive summers, and it appears the franchise's most iconic player, goaltender Martin Brodeur, has played his last game with the Devils. If losing Parise and Kovalchuk didn't signal the start of a new era, moving on without Brodeur certainly does.

New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello made one of the best signings of the 2013 offseason when Jaromir Jagr joined the Devils. He became their best player and fortified his status as one of the all-time great forwards. Lamoriello tried to add some options up front this offseason and turned the net over to Cory Schneider on a full-time basis.

The Metropolitan Division looks wide open behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, so a return to the postseason is certainly plausible and maybe even likely if the veterans up front can remain productive and healthy and Schneider confirms a place among the elite goaltenders in the League by finally having the chance to assume a large workload.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Devils:

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Devils' top 10 prospects paced by Boucher, Matteau

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Opportunity always knocks for those top prospects in the pipeline for the New Jersey Devils.

In 2013-14 the Devils recalled six players from their American Hockey League affiliate in Albany to replace injured starters. A seventh player, defenseman Seth Helgeson, was recalled on an emergency basis and practiced with the team but never got into a game.

"I think the organization sets the table with opportunity; that's the one thing I've seen over the three years I've been here," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "Some of the young players grabbed it and ran with it like Jon Merrill and Adam Henrique, and some haven't yet. We need a few of these guys to do that this year."

One area the Devils have successfully stocked with A-grade prospects is along the blue line. Merrill and Eric Gelinas stepped in nicely when called upon last season, and it appears several others are ready to make the jump.

"I would put our defensive depth up against any other organization in the NHL," DeBoer said. "It's a long list of guys that are either able to play or have the potential to play very soon."

Here's a look at the Devils' top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

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Schneider as No. 1 among Devils' five questions

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

After failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs a second straight season, New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer organized a meeting with his staff to pinpoint what went right and wrong in 2013-14.

In addition to their team, they discussed the success of the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and the resurgence of the Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers.

"You're always looking for things you could do differently in order to make sure you're back in that group of elite teams the following season," DeBoer said. "I think it's a healthy exercise in finding ways not only to improve your own team but give some perspective. This is a tough League to make the playoffs, so just because you miss the playoffs doesn't mean you're a poor team. We did a lot of good things last year; we just have to find an extra edge."

Here are five questions facing the Devils:

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Gelinas' development critical to Devils' success

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer believes defenseman Eric Gelinas has the potential to be something very special.

Gelinas gave Devils fans reason to get excited about the future after scoring seven goals and 29 points in 60 regular-season games as a rookie in 2013-14.

An injury to captain Bryce Salvador early in the season gave Gelinas a roster spot and an opportunity to showcase his cannon shot from the point on the power play. Gelinas turned out to be a catalyst for the Devils, ranking second on the team among defensemen in goals (five) and points (17) on the power play. The Devils finished ninth in the NHL with a 19.5 percent efficiency and the 23-year-old played a key role.

If Gelinas can prove his first year in the League was no fluke and improve in a few areas, the Devils will certainly be in a much better standing in the Eastern Conference in April.

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New-look Devils try to re-establish playoff profile

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The road to the Stanley Cup Playoffs hasn't been an easy one for Peter DeBoer since he led the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in his first year as their coach three seasons ago.

But that was also a time when DeBoer had the services of All-Star forwards Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, who combined for 68 regular-season goals and 16 playoff goals during that run to the 2012 Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings. The Devils would score 146 even-strength goals in 2011-12.

Since then they've failed to qualify for the playoffs and, not surprisingly, have struggled offensively. The team totaled 110 regular season goals in the 48-game 2012-13 season, 67 at even strength. Last season, the Devils scored 197 goals, 136 at even strength.

Will the upward offensive trend continue with the depth general manager Lou Lamoriello has incorporated in DeBoer's fourth season?

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Subban, Canadiens agree to terms on 8-year contract

Sunday, 08.03.2014 / 2:08 AM / News

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

In the end, defenseman P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens each got what they wanted.

They just did it the hard way.

P.K. Subban
Defense - MTL
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 53
SOG: 204 | +/-: -4
Subban and the Canadiens agreed to terms on an eight-year contract reportedly worth $72 million one day after an arbitration hearing between the sides had Montreal fans in a panic for about 24 hours that the team's top defenseman might eventually leave town.

The arbitrator's ruling on how much Subban would be awarded on a one-year contract was due Sunday, but the sides got back together Saturday to make sure it didn't come to that.

"It's not easy to negotiate an eight-year deal like this, and ultimately that's what both sides have wanted," Subban said. "[Friday], going through the arbitration hearing, it's a part of the process and it's a part of learning and it's a part of the game and it's a part of the [collective bargaining agreement]. So we followed every step in terms of the process, and that was a part of it. I've always felt strong about being a Montreal Canadien and I never thought I would wind up anywhere else."

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Bishop signs two-year extension with Lightning

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 10:35 PM / News

NHL.com

Goaltender Ben Bishop has signed a two-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team announced Saturday.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but it is worth $5.95 million per season, according to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com.

Bishop could have become an unrestricted free agent in July 2015 but is now signed through the 2016-17 NHL season.

"I didn't want to head into training camp and then maybe play half a season [without having a new contract] in the back of my mind, because as much as you like to say that it's not a distraction, it usually is," Bishop told The Tampa Tribune. "So it was nice to get this over with, I think it's a fair deal for both sides, and I'm really excited to be a part of this organization for another three years."

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Forward Maroon signs extension with Ducks

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 1:23 PM / News

NHL.com

Forward Patrick Maroon has signed a three-year contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks, the team announced Saturday. The contract begins in 2015-16; financial details were not disclosed.

Maroon, 26, last season established career highs in games (62), goals (11), assists (18), points (29), plus/minus (plus-11) and penalty minutes (101). He scored two goals and seven points in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games, at one point enjoying a six-game point streak, the longest for a rookie in the playoffs since Warren Rychel of the Los Angeles Kings in 1993.

"It's been a tough road for me, a lot of ups and downs in hockey, but the Ducks have full confidence in me," Maroon told the Ducks Twitter feed. "Just because I signed a contract doesn't mean anything. I need to work hard every day to show I want it"

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Canada expects pressure as World Junior camp opens

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 10:50 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Pressure to win is nothing new for Hockey Canada. But that pressure will only be heightened this year.

The Canada national junior team summer development camp gets underway Sunday just outside Montreal in Brossard, Quebec. It's there that 41 players will take their first few steps to earn a chance to play in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, which begins Dec. 26 in Montreal and Toronto.

It's one thing to represent Canada in the WJC, it's quite another to do it at home. Playing the tournament in Canada's two biggest cities adds another level of pressure to this year's event.

Canada coach Benoit Groulx of the Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League knows this. But four months before the start of the tournament, he's not worried about the pressure.

In fact, he's embracing it.

"A lot of people are talking about pressure, and I think pressure is good," Groulx said. "It means we have a chance to win, it means we have a good team. There are teams who come to this tournament who say they have no pressure, but that means they don't think they will win. So for us, it's a positive. We are very aware of how big this will be, and that will be on the agenda for our week with the players. We're going to talk to them about it, but the players are also very aware of all that."

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Hurricanes need bounce-back season from Staal

Saturday, 08.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Eric Staal is on his game, he is one of the NHL's best offensive players and the man who makes the Carolina Hurricanes go. When he's less than his best, as he was for much of 2013-14, Staal's lack of productivity puts Carolina's attack on life support.

Staal was the fifth-highest paid player in the League last season with a salary of $9.25 million; his cap charge was $8.25 million, according to CapGeek. But he had his worst full-season offensive totals (20 goals, 41 assists and a minus-13 rating in 79 games) since 2003-04, his rookie season. For a player on whom the Hurricanes rely in nearly every on-ice situation, those numbers translated into a 36-35-11 record and a 13th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, their fifth straight non-playoff season.

New coach Bill Peters expects his captain to bounce back this season.

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Quote of the Day

I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien on forward Loui Eriksson's potential