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2023-24 NHL East Preview: SENS vs NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Continuing the SWOT Analysis of the Metropolitan division with last year’s second place team, the New Jersey Devils.


If you believe speed kills, the Devils could amass a serious body count. Last year’s meteoric rise in the standings had their pace on full display most nights.

Led by their two-headed monster down the middle in Jack Hughes and captain Nico Hischier, the Devils had teams on their heels.

They have cost certainty on a core of five players upfront in Hughes, Hischier, Timo Meier, Jesper Bratt and veteran Ondrej Palat for the next four to six seasons.

Their defence, led by Dougie Hamilton, is both solid and deep. They are in a similarly enviable position cap-wise with their top three under long-term cost certainty for four to five years.

Finally, their coach, Lindy Ruff, has remained relevant for more than two decades as an NHL coach.


The Senators match up well against the Devils in two main areas.

Timo Meier was a great acquisition from the Sharks. However, he does not represent a pure power forward like Brady Tkachuk. Tkachuk can disrupt and take the game in a direction that the Devils might not like physically. The Canes did this to the Devils in the playoffs last year.

The Devils have a combined $4.3 million allocated to their crease. Though Vitek Vanecek played well in the regular season, Akira Schmid stepped up in round one of the playoffs. The Senators' crease could be a difference-maker for them.


The Devils have $1.9 million in cap space remaining. Depending on how the season plays out, they could be in a more enviable position to take on some salary to make a deal happen at the deadline.

Being a cap team doesn’t necessarily mean being at the cap at the start of the season.


The Devils youth movement can be an opportunity and a threat. Jack Hughes is evolving into the player everyone thought he would be when he was taken number one overall in 2019.

The team, as a whole, is younger than the experienced Hurricanes and it showed in the playoffs. They won’t surprise anyone this season. The more experienced players that they do have like Palat and Hamilton should be able to guide them through it.

Tyler Toffoli could also represent an opportunity or a threat. Does he have the pace to play in the up-tempo style that the Devils have? He has one year left on his deal before becoming a UFA. He hasn’t played in New Jersey yet. If he doesn’t pan out, he could be a salary dump at the deadline rather than a key piece to a playoff run.

Much like the Devils, the Senators have youth on their side. They also enjoy the cost certainty that the Devils do for the years ahead. Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris and Brady Tkachuk match up well with Hughes, Hischier and Meier.

The Senators top four with Chabot, Sanderson, Zub and Chychrun could be an advantage over the Devils while also enjoying the cost certainty. Depth in the bottom pair could be an issue that Lindy Ruff could exploit in matchups on the road.

Are the Devils as good as they showed last year? All signs point to yes if they can get the goaltending. Tom Fitzgerald has put the Devils in a position to be competitive for years to come.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Senators have as well, and they could be the New Jersey of this coming season.



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