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Team Reset

Devils make no major moves after ending playoff drought

Lose defenseman Moore, forwards Maroon, Grabner following first-round exit

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the New Jersey Devils:

The New Jersey Devils will look to build on their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012 with much the same roster that got them there last season.

It appears the Devils will replace forwards Patrick Maroon and Michael Grabner, who left as free agents after being acquired in trades in February, from within the organization. They hope to have forward Marcus Johansson for a full season after he was limited to 29 games in 2017-18, his first in New Jersey, because of a bruised ankle and two concussions. Forward John Quenneville, their first-round pick (No. 30) in the 2014 NHL Draft, might be ready to make the jump to the NHL.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

A focus for the Devils since being eliminated in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round has been building depth at defenseman. Although John Moore left as an unrestricted free agent, New Jersey selected defensemen with its first two picks in the 2018 NHL Draft (Ty Smith, No. 17; Xavier Bernard, No. 110) and added Egor Iakovlev and Eric Gryba as free agents.

The Devils re-signed goalie Eddie Lack for one year and $650,000 on June 30. If Cory Schneider is unavailable to begin the season following May 1 surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left hip, the 30-year-old would back up Keith Kinkaid. Lack was acquired by New Jersey in a trade with the Calgary Flames on Dec. 30, 2017.

Here is what the Devils look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Egor Iakovlev, D: After signing a one-year contract May 21, he will challenge for a roster spot in training camp after playing six seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, including the past three with SKA St. Petersburg. Iakolev, a left-shot defenseman who turns 27 on Sept. 17, had one assist and was plus-2 in five games to help the Olympic Athletes from Russia win the gold medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. ... Eric Gryba, D: The 30-year-old signed a one-year, two-way contract, worth $700,000 in the NHL and $300,000 in the American Hockey League, on July 1. The right-shot defenseman has 43 points (seven goals, 36 assists) and 358 penalty minutes in 279 games in six NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers.

Video: Blake Coleman and Stefan Noesen re-sign with Devils

 

Key departures

John Moore, D: The 27-year-old played three seasons for the Devils before signing a five-year, $13.75 million contract with the Boston Bruins on July 1. He had 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 81 games last season and was second on New Jersey in hits (135) and blocked shots (105). ... Patrick Maroon, F: The 30-year-old signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the St. Louis Blues on July 10. He had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 17 regular-season games and scored one goal in five playoff games with the Devils after he was acquired in a trade with the Oilers on Feb. 26. New Jersey offered more money on a one-year contract, but Maroon wanted to be near his family in Missouri, where he was born and raised. ... Michael Grabner, F: The 30-year-old signed a three-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes on July 1. He had five points (two goals, three assists) in 21 regular-season games and no points in two playoff games with New Jersey after he was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on Feb. 22. ... Brian Gibbons, F: The 30-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks as a free agent July 2 after he had NHL career highs in goals (12), assists (14), points (26) and games (59) in 2017-18.

 

On the cusp

John Quenneville, F: The 22-year-old had 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 43 games for Binghamton of the AHL last season and is expected to challenge for a roster spot at wing. ... Michael McLeod, F: Selected by the Devils with the No. 12 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, McLeod had 207 points (76 goals, 131 assists) in 215 games in four seasons with Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League, and 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 33 OHL playoff games. ... Joey Anderson, F: The 20-year-old signed a three-year, entry-level contract April 15 after helping the University of Minnesota-Duluth win the NCAA Division I championship with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 36 games as a sophomore.

 

What they still need

The Devils could use an upgrade to their top four defensemen after allowing 2.93 goals per game (17th in NHL) and 31.7 shots per game (14th) last season. 

 

Fantasy focus

Nico Hischier is an intriguing fantasy case study because the center was a fixture on the first line with Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall and had 46 even-strength points, which was tied for 49th in the NHL. The 19-year-old was far from perfect in his rookie season, but it's hard to comprehend how he didn't have more than six power-play points in 82 games given his chemistry with Hall, who was fifth in the NHL with 37 power-play points. Hischier's power-play shooting percentage was particularly low (3.8; one goal on 26 shots on goal). The Devils lost assistant coach Geoff Ward, who was in charge of their power play before joining the Calgary Flames during the offseason, but Hischier should get stronger and more comfortable in his second NHL season. Hischier likely will be available in mid-to-late rounds, maintain his top-line role, and drastically improve his man-advantage production, making him a glaring breakout candidate. -- Pete Jensen

Video: NJD@TBL, Gm2: Hischier buries first playoff goal

 

Projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Nico Hischier -- Jesper Bratt

Marcus Johansson -- Travis Zajac -- Kyle Palmieri

Blake Coleman -- Pavel Zacha -- Stefan Noesen

Miles Wood -- Brian Boyle -- John Quenneville

Andy Greene -- Sami Vatanen

Will Butcher -- Damon Severson

Mirco Mueller -- Ben Lovejoy

Keith Kinkaid

Eddie Lack

* Cory Schneider (hip surgery) may miss start of season

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