If this were Ray Shero's first rodeo, he would not feel as comfortable in making a bold statement. But it's not. Shero has been around, for a long time, and he has seen through three previous stops what the building process for a team feels like and when the corner has been turned.
There is something different about the Devils this season, and their general manager knows it.
"I know we've got a ways to go, not just to get to Game 82 but over the course of the next two or three years. But this is really the start (of our build) I envisioned when I came here two years ago," Shero told Sporting News in a recent interview. "This is turning. Both on and off the ice, this is turning. I feel it, I know it, I've been through this before. Whether you start 9-2 or .500, you do know and you believe it's turning. It's good for the players to have some success for how they've played and prepared in training camp.
"From the players' standpoint, having some success playing this way has been good."