3 Upgrades New Jersey Devils Need In The New Year

The New Jersey Devils are not in the place in the standings where they had hoped or expected. It has been a struggle for multiple reasons, but this is still a talented group that can do some damage this season. With a few necessary upgrades, they can get into the playoffs and make some noise.

1A/1B Goaltender

The biggest need for the Devils is goaltending. No help is coming like last season. There is only so much the team can expect from Nico Daws, while Akira Schmid likely won't be the playoff savior for the team this time around. Vitek Vanecek has proved that he isn't a starter, but would serve as a better 1B or even backup at this point with his numbers. The Devils need someone who can at least split starts with him and provide adequate goaltending so it doesn't continue to sink the team in games where they score a few times. If they don't have another goaltender by the playoffs, there's no hope.

Top-4 RD

The Devils lost Dougie Hamilton a while ago, and it has been a big hit. Sure, Luke Hughes has filled in nicely on the power play and Simon Nemec has slid into a top-four role on the right side where Hamilton left a hole, but that is putting a lot of trust in two rookies. That just isn't a viable plan for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. There is money to be spent, and it all won't be spent on a goalie. Half of it should be allocated to finding a defensive replacement. And when Hamilton is hopefully back for them in the playoffs, there will be great defensive depth and options to use, plus less pressure on Hamilton to come back in and play huge minutes.

Forward Depth

The Devils don't have many options to fill into their lineup past what is on their roster. While Tomas Nosek, Curtis Lazar, and Nolan Foote could be back to contribute this season, the team may need more or better than that. Without timetables for return, it is very up in the air. The top-12 is fairly solid as is, but they may want to upgrade over Chris Tierney. This is something for them to think about closer to the deadline to see if those players who were mentioned are close to returning or not.

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