3 Devils With The Most To Prove In 2023-24

The New Jersey Devils are going to be a very good team this season. This time, it is expected. They came out of nowhere and seemed to put everything together last season. They have a legitimate top-six and decent depth. But there are some players who struggled at times or are trying to establish themselves with something to prove this season. Let's take a look at three.

Vitek Vanecek

Vitek Vanecek had the starter position locked down last season, but Akira Schmid pushed for starts by the end of the season. The rookie had a strong showing during the regular season and the playoffs, and is seen as the future in net for the Devils by some, not Vanecek. Schmid took over and started some games in the playoffs last season when Vanecek struggled, and that could be an indication of how things are starting to go this season. I think Vanecek has to start off strong and will have to prove that the playoffs were a blip in his Devils career and it isn't a thing that will keep happening.

Luke Hughes

Luke Hughes came into the NHL with a lot of hype and he delivered. He put up four points in five combined games between the end of the regular season and the playoffs. The team moved on from Ryan Graves and Damon Severson, so Hughes is immediately expected to perform in a top-four role, likely on the top pairing. He has the talent level to do so, but there is a lot to prove as a former top pick with a lot of pressure on a contender this season.

Timo Meier

Timo Meier did very well on the San Jose Sharks, but struggled to produce at the level that was expected of him after being acquired by the Devils. He did score nine goals and 14 points in 21 games to close out the regular season, but he had 52 points in 57 games for the Sharks last season and 76 points in 77 games the season prior. More points are expected from him. Once playoffs rolled around, he was fairly disappointing, only scoring two goals and four points in 11 games. He got a big deal that has him as the highest paid forward on the team. He will have to play at nearly a point-per-game this season to erase any negative memories of his Devils debut run.

Photo credit: © Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports