John MacLean was named the team’s new head coach on Thursday. The Devils had a good regular season vs. online bookmaker odds this past year but they did not have playoff success.
Bookmaker NHL results from last season indicated that the Devils went 48-27-2-5 which was good enough for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Devils were even better than the Pittsburgh Penguins but it mattered little since New Jersey lost in the first round of the playoffs to Philadelphia. It will be up to MacLean to change the fortunes next season.
MacLean will be replacing Jacques Lemaire, who retired in April. MacLean coached New Jersey’s AHL team last year and led them to a 39-31-4-6 record. That was the best record in the history of the franchise and it was their first appearance in the playoffs. The Devils had considered MacLean in the past for their head coach job but he had never gotten it until now. MacLean is the all-time leading scorer in New Jersey history with 347 goals. He had been an assistant with New Jersey for seven seasons before taking over the AHL job.
New Jersey finished this past season with the second best record in the Eastern Conference. That meant they had a number two seed but it didn’t matter as they were upset in bookmaker odds by the Philadelphia Flyers. Success in the playoffs has not come for New Jersey in recent seasons. The Devils won the Stanley Cup in 2003 but since that time they have not made it past the second round in the NHL playoffs.
Zach Parise led the team this past season in points, shots and plus/minus. The Devils did struggle to score goals at times though as they were just
19th in the league as bookmaker statistics indicated. The Devils were very good on defense and that helped them vs. the odds at the online bookmaker as they allowed just 2.3 goals per game, tops in the league. Martin Brodeur had another good season but how much the future Hall of Famer has left is a question that New Jersey will need to answer heading into next season.