The New Jersey Devils have been one of the more successful teams in the NHL over the last 20 years and after watching Peter DeBoer go to work in his first full season, Devils fans should be content that they are in good hands.
Comparing DeBoer to some of his predecessors, he would surely be filed in the best of the best.
At the bottom of the pile are guys like John MacLean, Billy MacMillan and Herb Brooks. Each of them disappointed throughout their time with the Devils and each started with lackluster seasons.
Meanwhile, DeBoer’s Devils finished with 102 points in the regular season and then went on to shock everyone in the Eastern Conference en route to a Stanley Cup appearance. That would likely put him in the same breath as Pat Burns, Jacques Lemaire and Jim Schoenfeld as far as first seasons go.
But the Devils shouldn’t jump the gun on DeBoer as he’s not necessarily the savior. The landscape of the game has changed for the New Jersey Devils and that can be seen in the NHL odds for next season. While the Devils won the East this year, they’re merely at 20/1 to repeat because there are many skeptics out there. The addition of things like the salary cap and revenue sharing has increased parity and that will directly affect the Devils next season. As many fans know by now, star center Zach Parise signed with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason and that could directly lower the Devils point total.
All we know with DeBoer right now is that it was a good start. A lot can change from season to season but one thing New Jersey has done remarkably well is be consistent. Another 90+ point season with a playoff spot will reinforce that DeBoer is the man for the job for the future. But if the team is to fall off the table and miss the playoffs, questions regarding DeBoer’s job will come to the forefront.