The New Jersey Devils are going nowhere but up this season. After snagging Nico Hirscher with the first overall pick, the Devil’s offense looks to surge in the 17-18 season.
During this signing process, Butcher undoubtedly has been overhyped. This is not a slight against his skill and potential, but Butcher is not a franchise player. He more than likely will need an adjustment period in the AHL, as most college players do. But his potential at 22 years old is undeniable. For a few brief days, the entire hockey world had their eye on twitter to see the result.
This was best case scenario for the Devils. After absolutely stealing Marcus Johansson, and signing Brian Boyle, the Devils have several options and types of players on offense. Then there is Taylor Hall, who had a relatively quiet season, albeit recording 52 points in 72 games. Good for .72 points per game. Not amazing, but not awful either.
After allowing 2.94 goals per game last season — sixth most in the NHL — the Devils looked to return to their usual defensive success.
The Devils also went 18-10-14 in one-goal games last season, and that .429 win percentage in those contests was also sixth lowest in the NHL. Flipping a few of those results is a start in changing the narrative. Those newcomers are only going to help an offense that struggled to put the puck in the net last season, scoring just 183 goals—the NHL’s third-lowest total.
And with the development of Butcher, ideally he can become the same calibur player as Larsson, with more offensive punch. Known for quarterbacking powerplays and turning defense into offense, Butcher is an intriguing signing.
This season, don’t expect the Devils to make playoff waves, but they will certainly improve. In the long term, the Hall-Larsson trade seems fantastic for the Devils. They leveraged their surplus, to acquire offense. They have continued to supply offense to support their excellent goaltender in Cory Schneider. Now with Butcher in the pipeline, there is a lot to be excited about in the Garden State.