Disappointing seasons from the Rangers and Devils prompted impressive offseason work from both organizations. It certainly helped that both teams had the top two picks in the NHL Draft -- selections that netted potentially franchise-altering talents in Kappo Kakko and Jack Hughes, respectively.
While they didn't have a high draft pick or significant free agent signing, the Islanders made a handful of moves, mainly in the form of re-signings. For the most part, their roster enters 2019-20 relatively unchanged.
Taking all of this into consideration, here's a closer look at the biggest moves each organization made...
The New Jersey Devils have continued their offseason overhaul.
After acquiring P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds and No. 1 overall draft pick Jack Hughes, the Devils added another significant young piece to the team on Monday, trading for 27-year-old Russian winger Nikita Gusev and then signing him to a two-year, $9 million contract.
Gusev has taken an interesting road to the NHL. Despite being drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012, Gusev has never played an NHL game. His rights were traded to the Vegas Golden Knights during the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, but again he stayed in Russia, where he played for the KHL's SKA Saint Petersburg.
Jack Hughes, the Devils first overall draft pick, donned the red and white jersey for the first time on Tuesday when he took the ice for the start of the team's developmental camp.
"Yeah, it was good to get out here. Good little skate to get our feet under us. It was good to get out there with the jersey for the first time."
While Hughes admitted the hype has gone down and he's had time to relax by the pool, he's ready to start soaking in all the information his new coaches will be throwing at him as he gets acclimated to his new team.
Jack Hughes, the New Jersey Devils' first-round pick and first overall pick of the NHL Draft, was officially introduced as a Devil on Tuesday at the Prudential Center in Newark where he unveiled he will be wearing No. 86.
The 18-year-old joined SNY's Dan Graca for a few minutes to discuss what it was like being the No. 1 pick and what lies ahead for his NHL career, plus much more.
"It's been a whirlwind," he said. "I'm really excited to be a Devil."
P.K. Subban is optimistic in his new team and what No. 1 pick Jack Hughes brings to the Devils.
A day after New Jersey acquired Subban in a trade with the Nashville Predators, Subban said he is looking forward to joining a team with playoff potential.
"My main objective is to come in and be a good mentor for the young guys, but I'm coming to win," Subban told the New York Post's Mollie Walker. "I'm not coming for participation, I want a Stanley Cup ring and I want to do that in New Jersey."
The Devils continue to load up on talent.
One day after selecting Jack Hughes first overall in the NHL Draft, the Devils acquired defenseman P.K. Subban in a trade with the Nasvhille Predators, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN.
The Devils will send defensemen Jeremy Davis and Steven Santini, plus a 2019 second-round pick and 2020 second-round pick to Nashville.
Tags: Steven Santini
The Devils selected center Jack Hughes with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft on Friday.
He'll likely become the first-ever player to make the jump straight from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program to the NHL.
Here are six facts to know about the 18-year-old Hughes.
It wouldn't have mattered which team had the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft. Jack Hughes just wants to be the first player taken.
"You always dream of being No. 1," Hughes told reporters Friday at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo. "You don't dream of being two, three or four when you're a young kid."
But the 18-year-old American center isn't about to ruffle any feathers. Asked whether he'd look better in red or blue, with the Devils and Rangers holding the top two picks in the NHL Draft, Hughes said, "I think I'd look good in either."
It was a rough season for the NHL's Hudson River Rivalry.
The Devils took a huge step back after making the playoffs in 2017-18, their 72 points the third-fewest in the league, while the Rangers were only six points better as they embarked on their first full season of their rebuild.
But next month's NHL Draft represents an opportunity for both teams to add a potential game-changing prospect, as the Devils hold the No. 1 pick with the Rangers picking right after at No. 2. American center Jack Hughes and Finnish wing Kaapo Kakko should be the top-two picks in some order, with Hughes long pegged as the top prospect in this draft class.
Tags: Nico Hischier
Although no New York-area teams made it to the Stanley Cup Final this year, the Empire State will still have a large impact on hockey's grandest stage. Twelve players from the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues have connections with the New York metro area in some way, so local fans still have plenty of reasons to tune in.
The Bruins have one of the largest collections of American-born hockey players of any team in the NHL. Not surprisingly, several of them have called New York home for at least part of their careers.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Jaroslav Halak, John Moore, Marcus Johansson, Paul Carey, Steven Kampfer, St. Louis Blues
Time will tell whether the Devils thinking highly enough of Kaapo Kakko to take him over long-presumed No. 1 NHL Draft pick Jack Hughes, but Kakko's emergence over the last year has at least made it a debate.
And Kakko thinks it can happen, especially as he dominates in the IIHF World Championship.
"This is a big thing for me for the draft," Kakko told NHL.com through a translator. "I think I can be the first (pick)."
The NHL Draft gets more interesting by the day.
Because the more Kaapo Kakko plays in the IIHF World Championship, the more he impresses, adding intrigue to the Devils' decision on whom to select first overall.
The Finnish wing, who will go to the Rangers at No. 2 if the Devils take American center Jack Hughes at No. 1, scored a beauty of a goal on Thursday for his sixth goal of the tournament.
The tournament is only two days old, but Kaapo Kakko is already the talk of the IIHF World Championship.
The 18-year-old Finnish wing scored a hat trick Saturday in Finland's 4-2 win over Slovakia, giving him five goals after he scored two in the team's opener on Friday.
Kakko's first of the game was a long one-timer. He showed brilliant hands on his second goal before adding an empty-netter.
It appears as if there could be a good ol' New York vs. New Jersey battle for Finnish hockey phenom Kaapo Kakko.
Many expect the 18-year-old forward to go second overall to the Rangers, but perhaps it is too early to count out the Devils just yet.
Kakko scored an impressive goal at the IIHF Worlds on Friday, grabbing the puck on a breakaway while a defender attempted to trip him from behind. Kakko escaped free of the defender's stick while also deking out the goalie to sneak the puck past him.
When the clip of the goal surfaced on Twitter, the Rangers tweeted out the eyeball emoji while the Devils tweeted out a double eyes emoji along with a gif of the goal five minutes later.
The probable top two picks in the 2019 NHL Draft have topped NHL Central Scouting's final rankings lists, which were released Monday.
The Devils drew the No. 1 pick in the June draft during last week's NHL Draft Lottery, while the Rangers came away with the No. 2 pick. Hughes has long been considered the consensus No. 1 selection, but there's been recent talk of Kakko at least closing the gap on Hughes as far as who the top prospect is in this year's draft class after a strong season in the Finnish Liiga.
The 2019 NHL Draft lottery took place on Tuesday night, and it was the New Jersey Devils' card that flipped to lock in the No. 1 pick.
This is the second time in the last three years the Devils were awarded the top pick, as they landed it in 2017 as well. They spent it on Nico Hischier, who has collected 99 points over two years thus far.
After hearing the announcement, Devils GM Ray Shero couldn't be happier as he said "we need talent." That statement comes after a dismal Devils season where they finished last in the Eastern Conference with a 31-41-10 record.
The Devils snapped their two-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Monday at Prudential Center. >> Box score
- 3:54 NJD Miles Wood; Assists: Connor Carrick, Mirco Mueller
- 14:34 NJD Travis Zajac (power play); Assists: Damon Severson, Nico Hischier
- 18:40 NYR Brett Howden; Assists: Connor Brickley, Neal Pionk
This spring marks the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest non-Stanley Cup Finals playoff series in history -- the New York Rangers' epic seven-game Eastern Conference finals win over the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers, on their way to their first championship since 1940 that season, trailed three games to two before winning Game 6 when Mark Messier backed up his victory guarantee with a natural third-period hat trick and winning Game 7 on Stephane Matteau's goal in the second overtime.
The tri-state rivals will not commemorate the anniversary with a similarly high-stakes meeting this spring. Instead, the Rangers and Devils will each be looking to take solace in playing out the string in inspired fashion Monday night, when they complete their season series as New Jersey hosts New York in Newark.
A shootout was needed to decide who took the win in the Devils-Coyotes matchup on Saturday afternoon, and New Jersey came away with the victory, 2-1, on their home ice. >> Box score
- 2:31 PHX Oliver Ekman-Larsson; Assists: Alex Galchenyuk, Conor Garland
- 17:01 NJD Drew Stafford; Assists: Pavel Zacha, Miles Wood
Tags: Arizona Coyotes
The injury-riddled Devils lost their third straight game Thursday night, falling 5-1 to the Bruins in Newark. New Jersey has lost 10 of its last 12 games. Cory Schneider stopped 22 of 26 shot. >> Box score
- 18:34 BOS Patrice Bergeron; Assists: David Pastrnak; Brad Marchand
Devils backup goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood struggled in net during the second period, allowing three unanswered goals as New Jersey fell to the Washington Capitals, 4-1. >> Box score
- 2:52 WAS Andre Burakovsky; Assists: Nic Dowd, Brett Connolly
- 19:59 NJD Kenny Agostino
The Washington Capitals conclude a four-game road stretch when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
New Jersey (27-37-9) has been eliminated from playoff contention and is returning from a six-game road trip to open a four-game homestand.
The Devils went 2-4 on the trip, which ended with a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
Despite Cory Schneider playing well in goal, the Devils could not get anything going offensively and fell to the Avalanche 3-0 on Sunday. >> Box score
The Devils erased a two-goal deficit to come back and defeat the Canucks in a shootout, 3-2, Friday night in Vancouver. The injury-riddled Devils have won consecutive games for the first time in a month. Damon Severson ended the game in the seventh round of the shootout. MacKenzie Blackwood made 25 saves. >> Box score
- 3:18 VAN Elias Pettersson (Power Play;) Assists: Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat
The Devils took care of business on the road, defeating the Oilers in their barn, 6-3, on Wednesday night. >> Box score
- 7:34 NJD Kenny Agostino; Assists: Andy Greene, Kevin Rooney
- 9:37 EDM Sam Gagner; Assists: Jujhar Khaira, Matt Benning
- 14:22 EDM Alex Chiasson (Power Play); Assists: Connor McDavid, Oscar Klefbom
- 19:41 NJD Travis Zajac (Power Play); Assists: Damon Severson
The Devils scored the first two goals of the game, but that's all they could muster in a 4-2 loss to the Rangers at the Garden on Saturday night. >> Box score
- 16:26 NJD Damon Severson; Assists: Kenny Agostino, Michael McLeod
- 19:49 NJD Blake Coleman (Power Play); Assists: Will Butcher, Travis Zajac
The Devils' struggles continued Friday night as they were shut out by the Capitals in D.C., 3-0. New Jersey has lost five straight and has scored just one goal in its last three games. MacKenzie Blackwood made 33 saves. >> Box Score
- 2:40 WSH Andre Burakovsky; Assists: Michal Kempny, Travis Boyd
Tags: Washington Capitals
BOSTON (AP) Brad Marchand scored a power-play goal early in the opening period and Tuukka Rask made it stand up with 20 saves for his third shutout of the season, lifting the surging Boston Bruins to a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
The victory improved the Bruins' streak of at least one point in every game to 16 straight (12-0-4) and they haven't lost in regulation since a 3-2 setback to the New York Rangers on Jan. 19. It's their longest since 18 games (14-0-4) last season.
Rask is 14-0-3 in his last 17 starts.
New Jersey-bred James van Riemsdyk wasn't friendly to his hometown team, as he led the Flyers in a 6-3 Devils loss on Friday night. >> Box score
- 12:53 PHI James van Riemsdyk (Power Play); Assists: Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek
- 14:16 PHI James van Riemsdyk; Assists: Ryan Hartman
Tags: Philadelphia Flyers
The Devils found themselves on the losing side of a low-scoring game at The Rock in a 2-1 loss to the Flames on Wednedsay night. >> Box score
- 1:07 CAL Elias Lindholm (Power Play); Assists: Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau
- 13:52 CAL Mark Giordano; Assists: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan
- 16:47 NJD Kevin Rooney (Short Handed)
Tags: Calgary Flames
It went down to the wire Monday afternoon before the NHL trade deadline, but the Devils did trade pending unrestricted free agent Marcus Johansson to the Bruins in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick.
Earlier Monday, the Devils dealt goalie Keith Kinkaid to Columbus for a 2022 fifth-round pick.
Johansson is now teammates with Brad Marchand, who concussed Johansson last year and whom Johansson ripped for the vicious elbow which caused Johansson's second concussion of the 2017-18 season. Johansson was injured on Jan. 23 last year and didn't return until Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs on April 16.
Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
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The Rangers and Devils are both scrapping at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division but it was the Blueshirts who came out on top in a 5-2 win over the Devils. Jimmy Vesey, Ryan Strome and Chris Kreider scored three unanswered goals in the first period as the Devils fall for the second time in their last five games. >> Box score
- 4:48 NYR Jimmy Vesey; Assists: Pavel Buchnevich, Tony DeAngelo
- 8:54 NYR Ryan Strome (Power Play); Assists: Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich
- 14:23 NYR Chris Kreider; Assists: Mika Zibanejad, Jimmy Vesey
While the Rangers elected to play players who are expected to be dealt, the Devils held out Marcus Johansson and veteran defenseman Ben Lovejoy on Thursday ahead of any possible trades. Both players will make the trip to New York but are expected to be scratched again.
Without those two veterans, the Devils won for the third time in four games by getting goals from Travis Zajac, Steven Santini, Kurtis Gabriel and Miles Wood in a 4-0 home win over the Ottawa Senators.
"This time of year's never easy, and this is sort of the consequence of not having a good year to this point," said Devils goaltender Cory Schneider. Read More
While Cory Schneider was a brick wall in net, the Devils ran up four goals against the Senators for a big win at home on Thursday night. >> Read More
- 11:45 NJD Travis Zajac; Assists: Miles Wood, Will Butcher
- 14:34 NJD Steven Santini; Assists: Jesper Bratt, Will Butcher
Tags: Ottawa Senators
Gotta support the team.
The New Jersey Devils hosted a "90s Night" on Tuesday and perhaps the franchises most famous fan from the decade made an appearance.
Patrick Warburton reprised his role as David Puddy from "Seinfeld" at the Prudential Center during the ceremonial puck drop before the game against the Penguins.
Click below to watch video
The Devils couldn't mount a third-period comeback as the Penguins took them down, 4-3, at The Rock.
- 2:14 NJD Jesper Bratt; Assists: Marcus Johansson, Mirco Mueller
- 6:49 PIT Zach Aston-Reese; Assists: Sidney Crosby, Brian Dumoulin
- 12:12 NJD Marcus Johansson; Assists: Mirco Mueller, Jesper Bratt
- 18:24 PIT Nick Bjugstad; Assists: Marcus Pettersson, Dominik Simon
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins
The Devils won their second straight game by beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Sunday at Prudential Center. >> Box score
- 7:25 NJD Miles Wood; Assists: Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac
- 13:38 NJD Jesper Bratt (power play); Assists: Kyle Palmieri, Damon Severson
- 19:04 BUF Sam Reinhart; Assists: Zach Bogosian, Jack Eichel
Tags: Buffalo Sabres
After a miserable first two games of their three-game road trip, it appeared the Devils were going to fly home miserable from St. Paul Friday night as they found themselves down by three. But they erased a three-goal deficit to force overtime when Nico Hischier scored the winning goal to give the Devils a 5-4 win. Cory Schneider replaced Keith Kinkaid with the Devils down 4-1 and stopped all 15 shots he faced, giving him his first regular-season win since Dec. 27, 2017. Ben Lovejoy tied the game with 2:45 left in regulation. >> Box score
- 6:07 MIN Brad Hunt (Power Play;) Assists: Ryan Suter, Mikael Granlund
- 9:55 MIN Joel Eriksson Ek
Tags: Ben Lovejoy, Cory Schneider, Kyle Palmieri, Marcus Johansson, Minnesota Wild, Nico Hischier, Will Butcher
Minnesota has lost six of seven (1-4-2) to fall into a tie for the final Western Conference wild card with Vancouver, though the Wild have two games in hand on the Canucks.
However, if recent history is any indication, the Devils may be exactly what the Wild need to steady themselves in the playoff race.
The Wild's lone win since the All-Star Break came last Saturday, when they beat the host Devils 4-2. Minnesota is just one of several Western teams to take advantage of struggling New Jersey, which is 1-4-1 in its past six games. In that stretch, the Devils have lost to the Blackhawks, the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings.
The Devils got off to a hot start, but flamed out in a 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks on the road Thursday night. >> Box score
- 7:14 NJD Damon Severson; Assists: Brett Seney
- 16:42 NJD Travis Zajac (Power Play); Assists: Marcus Johansson, Jesper Bratt
- 18:17 CHI Patrick Kane; Assists: Dylan Sikura, Artem Anisimov
Tags: Chicago Blackhawks
The Devils couldn't get anything going against the Blues on the road Tuesday night, losing 8-3 in St. Louis. >> Box score
- 5:08 STL Alex Pietrangelo; Assists: Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko
- 6:41 STL Ivan Barbashev; Assists: Robert Thomas
- 10:30 NHD Pavel Zacha; Assists: Kenny Agostino
- 15:47 STL Jaden Schwartz; Assists: Robert Bortuzzo
Tags: St. Louis Blues
Marcus Johansson scored two goals as the Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Sunday at Prudential Center. >> Box score
- 11:35 NJD Pavel Zacha (power play); Assists: Ryan Murphy, Nico Hischier
- 19:03 NJD Marcus Johansson; Assists: Nico Hischier, Kyle Palmieri