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FEATURE: Excitement Growing Among Devils Ahead of Camp

A topic discussed among Devils front office members and players at the MB30 Invitational was the excitement leading up to the season after an active summer

by Chris Wescott TheChrisWescott /

EDISON, NJ - It was such a nice day on the golf course that you really don't want the summer to end.

But then again, if you're a person invested in the New Jersey Devils organization you would probably trade in this summer weather and a day on the golf course for hockey season right about now.

Video: MB30 | Kyle Palmieri

An offseason full of additions and roster improvements has increased excitement and positivity among Devils supporters, players, and staff alike.

A group of those Devils alumni, current players, and staff gathered Tuesday at Plainfield Country Club for the 2019 MB30 Invitational, a charitable event put on by Martin Brodeur and the Devils Care Foundation to benefit the community.

While the main focus of the day among participants was on the event itself, the excitement for the season was certainly palpable.

"I think Ray Shero and his group did a great job to kind of put us back on the map this summer," said Brodeur. "We made a lot of different moves and it's always exciting, you know, obviously still got to go on the ice and perform. I think they put the tools in place for us to have a more successful year than last year.

"Even though I'm not part of it, I'm excited about it because I'll be watching a lot of games, so it'll be fun to root for them again and, hopefully, they get into the playoffs."

Video: MB30 | Martin Brodeur

Kyle Palmieri says that while summers are normally a little boring for hockey players, this one kept the Devils forward watching.

"I feel like every week we were making additions to our team and that's something that, as a hockey player, keeps you getting more excited and looking forward to getting back on the ice, meeting a couple of new faces, and just getting ready for the season," he said.

"It's exciting," added Devils forward Blake Coleman. "There's gonna be a lot of excitement through training camp and a lot of pieces to see what they got and to see how they fit in the puzzle. I'm sure from the management to the coaches to the whole staff, that everyone's excited to see what we have in the room and what kind of players and people we have and [the players are] no different. We're excited to see what we have."

This summer, the Devils arguably added both the best player in the NHL Draft and the best player not currently in the league in Jack Hughes and Nikita Gusev. Those moves were in addition to a trade for proven veteran defenseman P.K. Subban and the signing of Wayne Simmonds in free agency.

"I think by all accounts, this is a summer we've been planning and getting ready for a long time, not only in just terms of how we've managed cap space and how we've accumulated assets, but when you win the draft lottery and get the number-one pick, it kind of set a series of [a lot of other things] in motion, and I think our fans are excited," said Devils President Hugh Weber. 

"And I think that's what I'm most excited for is that they've been anticipating this season and it's good to do a lot of work in the summer, but it's how you perform on the ice. I think John Hynes and his coaching staff are going to get this team prepared to do great things."

The Devils prospects will head to Buffalo, NY this week to participate in the Prospects Challenge. After that, it's time for training camp. With the season right around the corner and a renewed excitement filtering through the franchise, these next few weeks will be intriguing to watch.

"I'm very excited," said Hynes. "You know, I think it's something where you go through the summer and it's really your team-building part of it. And then later in mid to late August, you really dial in your systems and teams and combinations, and I'm really excited for this training camp.

"I like the moves that we've made. I feel like we have the right types of players and people in our room and now it's getting down to business. It's instilling our habits and instilling our structure and how we want to play and then it's also making sure that we're not just a collection of guys that play hockey, but we become a real strong brotherhood and team. That's going to start coming up this week."

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