The All-Star Break could not come at a better time for the New Jersey Devils. Five of their last six contests were decided in extra time, and even though they earned a record of 8-1-1 in their previous 10 games, the team hasn’t been thrilled with their play as of late.
After the team’s overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken, head coach Lindy Ruff bluntly said, “We’re not happy with the way we’re playing.”
The good news for the club is that good teams find ways to win, and that is exactly what fans have witnessed this season. At the unofficial halfway mark, the Devils have proven they are a legit team and have played themselves into the role of buyers ahead of the 2023 Trade Deadline.
Fitzgerald Will Look For Ways to Improve His Team
NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun spoke with Devils’ general manager Tom Fitzgerald about the upcoming trade deadline.
“My job is to improve the team. But my window is not one year,” Fitzgerald told The Athletic. “We’re a year ahead of where I think everyone thought we would be, but here we are. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do my job and try to improve the club long-term” (from ‘LeBrun: Devils ‘willing to give to get at the trade deadline — for the right player’, The Athletic, 01/27/22).
For the first time, in a long time, the Devils will be returning from the All-Star Weekend preparing for a playoff appearance. It’s a new feeling for both the players and fans as the team owns the fourth-best record in the league. There are plenty of players who could complement the team’s core including Timo Meier, Sam Bennett, and Max Domi.
Spotted: Trade Deadline Updates
The trade deadline is March 3 and rumors have already begun to swirl. New Jersey will be a buyer and the franchise has already been attached to more than a few players. Here’s the latest information that fans need to know.
Fitzgerald Seen at Panthers-Bruins Game
During the break, Fitzgerald attended the Florida Panthers game on Jan. 28. With his son and cousin on the Panthers’ roster it could have been more pleasure than business, but if there is one thing I have learned working in sports media it is that you’re working 24/7.
Related: Devils GM Fitzgerald Could Have 3 Panthers as Trade Targets
Latest News & Highlights
Everyone knows that Meier is a top trade target, but that does not mean there isn’t a backup plan if the San Jose Sharks forward doesn’t pan out. The Panthers are a team that could be forced to make a move due to their salary cap and fans know how good Fitzgerald is at taking advantage of cap-strapped teams.
Devils Scouts at Bell Centre for Senators-Canadiens Game
In a recent article, Marco D’Amico from MTL Hockey Now stated, “one team that has been more present prior to the NHL Trade Deadline are the New Jersey Devils”. The Devils play the Canadiens later this month, but in the meantime, fans will continue to speculate which players New Jersey could possibly be keeping their eye on.
Brunette Arrested for DUI
To my knowledge, David Dwork first reported that Devils’ associate coach Andrew Brunette was arrested on Feb. 1 for a DUI. According to his article, which can be read here, the incident happened in Broward County.
An arrest report obtained by Local 10 News stated a Broward Sheriff’s deputy observed an illegally parked golf cart outside a bar on the 200 block of Northeast 21st Avenue in Deerfield Beach. As the deputy was writing out a citation, Brunette, the owner of the golf cart, came out of the bar and told the deputy he was leaving, per the report. The deputy observed Brunette’s speech was slurred and that he was unsteady on his feet as he handed over the citation. Seventeen minutes later, the deputy said he saw Brunette leave the area driving the golf cart and observed him run two stop signs, after which a traffic stop was conducted.David Dwork, WPLG Local 10 News
Fitzgerald announced the hiring of Brunette on July 15. The prior season he was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year for the Panthers. Fitzgerald talked to NHL.com about the addition to his coaching staff talking about his people skills and being extremely down-to-earth.
“We’re just super excited to add to our staff with a person like this. You look back and his coaching ability and what he did last year, finishing runner-up for the top coach award, I can’t say enough great things about Andrew and we’re super excited to add him as well.”
The Devils are back in action on Feb. 6, when they host the Vancouver Canucks at Prudential Center. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for all the latest surrounding the Devils.