Feb 23, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) and New Jersey Devils center Sergey Kalinin (51) fight during the second period at Prudential Center. Miller received a match penalty for having tape too low on his hand. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Feb 23, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) and New Jersey Devils center Sergey Kalinin (51) fight during the second period at Prudential Center. Miller received a match penalty for having tape too low on his hand. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

In the fall of 2016, the documentary "Ice Guardians" was released. The documentary delves into one of the most respected, yet dangerous, positions on an NHL team. But, as we have seen the roles these players once filled are quickly going away.

It took 22 games.

The team that once employed Tie Domi, Joey Kocur, PJ Stock and Colton Orr had zero fights through their first 21 games.

Zero.

It took until Game 22 for the New York Rangers to get a fighting major, and Brandon Pirri barely threw a single punch.

Add in the fact that the New York Islanders have three, and the New Jersey Devils have two - it's fair to say the NHL in the Tri-State area is changing.

But why has this happened? Why has a position that is so connected to the game, to the culture of the sport, being pushed aside? Where have the enforcers gone?

"There's a few of us left," noted Eric Boulton, who is currently playing for the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. "[But] that role - it's more like a middle label now. There's guys that maybe get a little more ice time, and now all of a sudden they have to do that job, and they're probably not going to like doing that job."

A perfect example came on Nov. 1. With Boulton in the minors, the Islanders' Travis Hamonic fought former Ranger Brian Boyle. It was only the second period, the Islanders were losing 4-0, and they were getting pushed around. Hamonic may have a few fights under his belt, but considering he is a key to the Islanders' defense, can the team risk losing him for five minutes - or even worse, to an injury from a fight?

"He shouldn't be fighting every night," remarked Boulton, who has more than 140 fights in 654 career regular season games. "But if there's nobody else in the lineup, he's going to step up and do it if somebody hits John Tavares the wrong way, or is getting out of line. So, whether you're an enforcer or not, fighting is still in the game."

Fighting is still in the game -- after all, the Anaheim Ducks had 16 fights in their first 20 games this season. But its presence is drastically declining.

According to Hockeyfights.com, the 2015-16 season saw 0.28 fights per game. Less than 10 years before that, there were more than double at 0.60 fights per game in the 2008-09 season. In that same season, more than 40 percent of the games saw a fight. Last year, less than 25 percent saw the gloves drop.

"I think it'll always have a role," explained enforcer Luke Gazdic. "It helps eliminate guys taking cheap shots and runs at guys that can't protect themselves...that's what tougher guys are in the lineup for. ...there's always a place for enforcement and retribution on things happening to teammates.

As long as there's hockey there will be fighting in my opinion, and as long as there's hockey there will be room for guys that do the things that I do and play in a similar role that I do."

But not so fast. Gazdic was recently cleared to return to the Devils' lineup after breaking his foot in the preseason, but he was subsequently sent down to the minors. The expectation is his demoting was a conditioning stint, but there are no guarantees. There is no one who currently sits on the Devils roster who is deemed their enforcer. In fact the two fighting majors they have belong to Vernon Fiddler and Sergei Kalinin - two names that don't scream "fighter."

"There's a lot of guys that have found their way out of the game, but I think...it's more so on their inability to be able to keep up with the pace of the game," said Gazdic at the November premiere of the hockey documentary on enforcers, Ice Guardians. "Hockey has gotten so much bigger and stronger and faster over the last - I would even say four to six years."

But what is the impact of losing these players that, to an extent, controlled the game?

"I have this fear that if we don't have guys looking after each other that the rats will take this game over," then-Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke said in 2012 after demoting Orr to the AHL. "That's my fear. I see guys running around and starting stuff and won't back it up. It makes me sick to my stomach…

These guys that won't back it up, won't drop their gloves, run around and elbow people in the head and hit people from behind. They never have to answer for that in the game. They used to have to answer for that in the game."

Burke may have been foreshadowing a bit. Case in point - In 2013, the Rangers' Rick Nash missed 17 games after taking an elbow to the head from San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart. Stuart received a two-minute minor, and despite having Arron Asham and Derek Dorsett on the team, it was Brian Boyle - a key penalty killer - who retaliated and earned roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the third period.

"In [my] day, when I played with Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy, my job was to play with Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier, but also make sure nothing happened to those two," Hall of Famer Clark Gillies said in an interview with SNY in 2013. "Fighting has always been a huge part of the game. From an intimidation standpoint, when things get a little out of hand the greatest way to shut things down a little bit is [to] send somebody out there, and grab somebody. Let them know that this stuff's got to stop. [But] they've kind of clamped down on it."

Clamped down? Has the NHL gone soft? Why wasn't there immediate retribution against Stuart for the hit on Nash?

Rule 46.11 - A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting and a ten-minute misconduct.

The instigator rule.

Let's go back to the Pirri fighting major that happened in Game 22 against the Flyers, when center Travis Konecny didn't like a hit Pirri threw on Brandon Manning. So he went after Pirri. Pirri did get a boarding minor in addition to the fight. But Konecny got five minutes for fighting, two minutes for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct. 17 minutes in penalties for the 19-year-old. While an enforcer may not play that much regardless, having to shuffle lines for that long is tough on teammates and coaches alike.

In a 2013 interview with TSN, Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman -- the same player who was protected by enforcers Joey Kocur and the late Bob Probert -- said "I believe a player should get a game misconduct for fighting. We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking in an effort to reduce head injuries yet we still allow fighting. We're stuck in the middle and need to decide what kind of sport do we want to be. Either anything goes and we accept the consequences or take the next step and eliminate fighting."

His words created a shock wave through the hockey community. In the Ice Guardians documentary, it made a point to discuss concussions can come from boarding, elbows, open-ice hits, charging, etc. -- trying to pinpoint it on anything but fighting. But with the link between repetitive blows to the head and CTE, the deaths of at least seven former enforcers before the age of 50, and the countless others -- like former Devil Mike Peluso -- day-to-day, the question of whether fighting has a role is called into question.

"I don't think you want to give up a roster spot for someone who may not even see any ice time unless things get out of hand," commented Gillies. "With the two goaltenders, you've got 18 spots and I, as a coach or a general manager...I'd want to make sure I can use each and every one of those spots on my bench if I need to and not be afraid to put a guy out there in any situation...to have a spot on your bench being taken up by somebody that's really not going to use for any other purpose than just for fighting doesn't make sense to me."

So where does the NHL go from here? Will fighting go extinct? Will the enforcer position become a story of legend?

"They epitomized all of the values that we hold dear in hockey and it's from teamwork, sacrifice…the willingness to kind of step up and protect each other," former enforcer Luke Westgarth, who starred in the documentary Ice Guardians said. "The enforcer is something that you see for all of these values and that to me is the number one thing. I hope it isn't lost. It's so inherent in our sport that these values are what we find - what we hold dear - so it's odd to think that maybe if I was coming up today, I wouldn't make it, but that's the way sports and the world kind of evolves."

And it looks like we're evolving away from dropping the gloves.


Oct 20, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA;San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) takes a shot against New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports  (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 20, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA;San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) takes a shot against New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Sharks goalie Martin Jones tallies 28 saves as the Devils are shutout at home, 3-0, for second loss of season. >> Read more

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 (Marc DesRosiers)
(Marc DesRosiers)

Since 2015-16, no Western Conference team has beaten its rivals in the East more often than the San Jose Sharks.

That bodes well for San Jose as it kicks off a five-game east coast road trip Friday night with a clash against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

"We have five games on the road and we have to take a minimum of like eight points," Sharks center Tomas Hertl confidently told the San Jose Mercury News.

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New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland)
New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland)

The Devils placed G Cory Schneider (lower body injury) on IR, retroactive to Thursday, the team announced.

Schneider suffered the injury during Thursday's game against the Senators in Ottawa, and is eligible to be activated on Friday, Oct. 27.

G Scott Wedgewood was recalled from Binghamton of the AHL on emergency conditions.

Tags: Cory Schneider, Scott Wedgewood
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Oct 19, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) scores against Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Oct 19, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) scores against Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Nico Hischier scored twice, Taylor Hall had four assists, and the Devils rallied to beat the Senators, 4-2, at the Canadian Tire Centre. >> Read more

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Sep 21, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Daniel Audette (48) plays the puck and New Jersey Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller (25) defends during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Sep 21, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Daniel Audette (48) plays the puck and New Jersey Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller (25) defends during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

OTTAWA -- Led by a top-ranked power play and a productive rookie class, the New Jersey Devils are off to their best start in nine years.

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Oct 17, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Pavel Zacha (37) skates with the puck while being defended by Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Oct 17, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Pavel Zacha (37) skates with the puck while being defended by Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Drew Stafford scored the game-tying goal in the third period to force overtime and Kyle Palmieri added the game-winner in a shootout to lead the Devils to a 5-4 win on Tuesday at the Prudential Center. >> Read More

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Sep 21, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) makes a glove save during the second period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Sep 21, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) makes a glove save during the second period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

NEWARK, N.J. -- Last season, neither the Tampa Bay Lightning nor the New Jersey Devils reached the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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Oct 9, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Will Butcher (8) breaks in on goal during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Hoffman)
Oct 9, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Will Butcher (8) breaks in on goal during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Hoffman)

Devils rookie D Will Butcher is already breaking team records just five games into the season. 

Butcher has racked up eight assists in five games, which is a Devils record. He has been heavily involved in the Devils' early season success, and has gotten praise from teammates like F Taylor Hall who has been on the receiving end of one of his assists. 

"He's got a lot of skill, he moves the puck well, and he's so smart out there," Hall told NHL.com's Jesse Spector. "That's why we signed him,a nd that's why he was so highly regarded. He's brought a lot to our power play and our power play and our 5-on-5. We need that on our back end. We need guys who move the puck and provide offense and jump in, and it's graet to see quality this early."

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Adam Henrique (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
Adam Henrique (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils bounced back from their first loss of the season as they topped the Rangers, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. << Read More

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Oct 11, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier (13) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Oct 11, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier (13) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are coming off disappointing losses Friday night.

Only one team will exit the ice satisfied with the outcome Saturday night when the Devils and Rangers begin their season series at Madison Square Garden.

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New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider (35) looks back after the Capitals' T.J. Oshie scored in the first period Friday. (Ed Mulholland)
New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider (35) looks back after the Capitals' T.J. Oshie scored in the first period Friday. (Ed Mulholland)

T.J. Oshie scored two goals and Alex Ovechkin became the fourth player in the NHL's expansion era to score nine goals in his team's first five games of a season as Washington defeated the Devils 5-2 Friday in Newark. It was New Jersey's first loss after winning its first three games of the season

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Apr 5, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The surprising New Jersey Devils look to keep the good times rolling Friday night when they host the Washington Capitals at the Prudential Center, a game that features two of the highest scoring teams in the NHL.

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 (Eric Bolte)
(Eric Bolte)

The Devils' Michael McLeod will miss four to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, the team announced on Thursday.

 

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New Jersey Devils forward Brian Gibbons (39) celebrates his short handed goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Brian Gibbons (39) celebrates his short handed goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

After a back-and-forth first period, the Devils took command in the second and eventually scored their way to a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. >> Read more


First Period

  • 8:33 TOR James van Riemsdyk (Power Play); Assists: Mitchell Marner, Morgan Rielly
  • 9:07 NJD Miles Wood; Assists: Steven Santini, Will Butcher
  • 10:45 NJD Miles Wood; Assists: Steven Santini, Will Butcher
Tags: Toronto Maple Leafs
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New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt with the puck as Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane pursues during the first period at KeyBank Center. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt with the puck as Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane pursues during the first period at KeyBank Center. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

Jesper Bratt scored two of the New Jersey Devils' four second-period goals en route to a 6-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday at KeyBank Center. >> Read more


First period:

  • 6:28 NJD Stefan Noesen; Assist: Brian Gibbons
  • 18:56 NJD Gibbons; Assists: Nico Hischier, Marcus Johansson

Second period:

  • 5:02 BUF Evander Kane (power play); Assist: Rasmus Ristolainen
  • 5:23 NJD Jesper Bratt (short handed); Assists: Adam Henrique, Mirco Mueller
  • 7:49 NJD Johansson; Assist: Taylor Hall
  • 12:19 NJD Bratt; Assists: Hall, Andy Greene
  • 18:56 NJD Johansson; Assist: Bratt
Tags: Adam Henrique, Andy Greene, Brian Gibbons, Cory Schneider, Buffalo Sabres, Taylor Hall
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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

After what appeared to be a promising start under new coach Phil Housley, the Buffalo Sabres already have their backs against the wall.

That's what a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday night -- where the Sabres allowed two short-handed goals -- will do.

The Sabres (0-1-1) will look to get back on track in a matinee game at home against the New Jersey Devils (3 p.m. ET) on Monday.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres
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Adam Henrique (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
Adam Henrique (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Adam Henrique got the Devils on the board early as New Jersey cruised to a 4-1 win over the Avalanche in the season opener. >> Read more


First Period

  • 4:04 NJD Adam Henrique (Power Play); Assists: Will Butcher, Kyle Palmieri
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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

The New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche combined for only 118 points last season, or the same amount of the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals.

On Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center, the Devils host the Avalanche (1-0-0) as both teams seek to distance themselves from last season.

Colorado already took a step in that direction, defeating the New York Rangers, 4-2, on Thursday night. After finishing last in the league with 22 wins and 48 points in 2016-17, the Avalanche skated into Madison Square Garden and never trailed en-route to a season-opening road victory.

Tags: Colorado Avalanche
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 (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)
(Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

As the top pick in this year's NHL Draft, Nico Hischier wrote in the Players' Tribune that he is ready to fulfill his dream of playing at the highest professional level. 

Growing up in Switzerland, Hischier didn't get to watch many NHL games because most were not being broadcast in the country. However, at a young age, he was able to don a Devils uniform.

"It's pretty cool how things worked out because this is kind of the second time that I was picked to wear a Devils sweater," Hischier said. "When I was nine years old, there was this awesome tournament in Switzerland - whenever your team entered, you got to be a random NHL team. Like with the full jerseys, with a name and number on the back and everything. For the whole tournament, you were that team. It was sick."

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Brian Boyle (24) carries the puck during the warm up in game four of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals at Air Canada Centre. Washington defeated Toronto 5-4. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Brian Boyle (24) carries the puck during the warm up in game four of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals at Air Canada Centre. Washington defeated Toronto 5-4. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils announced their final training camp cuts cuts on Tuesday ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline to finalize 23-man rosters.

Forwards Joseph Blandisi, Nick Lappin, John Quenneville and defenseman Brian Strait were assigned to Binghmaton (AHL) in order to trim the roster to 23 players.

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 (John E. Sokolowski)
(John E. Sokolowski)

Devils C Brian Boyle has been feeling "better and better" since being diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in September. 

Boyle spoke with the media for the first time since the diagnosis, and he immediately brought up how shocked he was by the support he's seen from the NHL community. 

"I've been floored by it, my wife [Lauren], too," Boyle told NorthJersey.com's Andrew Gross. "We've gotten so many calss. Pittsburgh sent a letter signed by everyone, a little note from Sully [coach Mike Sullivan, Boyle's former assistant coach with the Rangers] and Sid [Crosby]."

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

The Devils signed right wing Jimmy Hayes to a one-year, one-way contract on Sunday, GM Ray Shero announced.

The deal, which is worth $700,000, came after the 27-year-old Hayes signed a PTO with the Devils on August 23.

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 (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Tags: Washington Capitals
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Nov 29, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes reacts to a call during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports (Bruce Fedyck)
Nov 29, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes reacts to a call during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports (Bruce Fedyck)

Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal recorded first period goals for the Islanders, but the Devils failed to answer back, losing 3-0 in a split squad matchup. >> Read more

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New Jersey Devils center Pavel Zacha (37) takes a slap shot against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at Nationwide Arena. (Russell LaBounty)
New Jersey Devils center Pavel Zacha (37) takes a slap shot against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at Nationwide Arena. (Russell LaBounty)

The Devils scored five goals in the first period, including two from Pavel Zacha, and went on to defeat the Ottawa Senators, 8-1 on Monday evening at Consolidated Credit Union Place. >> Read more

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Sep 21, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Daniel Audette (48) plays the puck and New Jersey Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller (25) defends during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Sep 21, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Daniel Audette (48) plays the puck and New Jersey Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller (25) defends during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

Drew Stafford scored the game-winning goal in the third quarter to lead the Devils to a 2-1 win over the Rangers on Saturday at the Prudential Center. >> Read more


First Period 

  • No goals 

Second Period

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Sep 21, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) makes a glove save during the second period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Sep 21, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) makes a glove save during the second period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

Jesper Bratt scored two goals in the third period and Keith Kinkaid saved 28 of 29 shots to help the Devils defeat the Canadiens, 4-1, on Thursday at the Bell Centre. >> Read more

Tags: Devin Smith, Keith Kinkaid
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New Jersey Devils right wing Nick Lappin (36) and New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes (13) fight for the puck during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils right wing Nick Lappin (36) and New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes (13) fight for the puck during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports)

With four seconds left in overtime, Filip Chytil scored to give the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Devils on Wednesday night. >> Read more

First Period 

  • 15:54 NYR: Kevin Hayes (Power Play); Assists: Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Shattenkirk

Second Period

  • 4:11 NJD: Pavel Zacha; Assists: Drew Stafford, Miles Wood
  • 4:32 NYR: Chris Kreider; Assist: Mats Zuccarello
  • 7:15 NJD: Brian Gibbons (Power Play); Assists: Drew Stafford, Jimmy Hayes
  • 10:16 NYR: David Desharnais; Assists: Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Kreider
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Brian Boyle (24) carries the puck during the warm up in game four of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals at Air Canada Centre. Washington defeated Toronto 5-4. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Brian Boyle (24) carries the puck during the warm up in game four of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals at Air Canada Centre. Washington defeated Toronto 5-4. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Devils C Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, the team announced on Tuesday.

Devils GM Ray Shero said the cancer was found through routine bloodwork at the beginning of the team's training camp. Boyle has missed practice throughout the week.

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New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson skates during the pregame warmups for the NHL preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson skates during the pregame warmups for the NHL preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The New Jersey Devils blew out the Washington Capitals, 4-1, on Monday at Prudential Center. >> Read more

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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

The Devils re-signed D Damon Severson to a six-year, $25 million contract, GM Ray Shero announced Monday.

Severson, 23, has spent his first three NHL seasons with the Devils, who now have him under contract until the 2022-23 season. 

"Damon brings an important dimension to our hockey club and he is a young defenseman that we are excited to work with," Shero said. "This deal shows our ownership's commitment in what we continue to build here. We look forward to helping Damon continue to grow and develop as a player."

Tags: Damon Severson
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Denver Pioneers defenseman Will Butcher (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
Denver Pioneers defenseman Will Butcher (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The New Jersey Devils agreed to a two-year entry deal worth $925,000 annually with former University of Denver defenseman Will Butcher, the team announced Sunday.

Butcher, 22, became an unrestricted free agent earlier in the month when he chose not to sign with the Colorado Avalanche.

Butcher won the Hobey Baker Award last season after totaling seven goals and 30 assists. He recorded 28 goals and 75 assists in 158 career games with Denver. 

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 (Winslow Townson)
(Winslow Townson)

The Devils have signed veteran winger Drew Stafford to a one-year deal. 

The deal is worth $800,000 as GM Ray Shero announced the signing on Friday. 

Stafford split time with the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets last season where he totaled eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points

The 31-year-old took a tremendous pay cut after making $4.35 million the past two seasons. He has totaled 400 points since joining the NHL in 2006.

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New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

The New Jersey Devils have lost top center Travis Zajac for four to six months with a pectoral injury.

Devils executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero announced that Zajac had surgery to repair the pectoral muscle on Thursday.

Shero said the Zajac was hurt last week during offseason training. >> Read more

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

Tags: Travis Zajac
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New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias (26) skates in warmups before his game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias (26) skates in warmups before his game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils will retire Patrik Elias' No. 26 during a pregame ceremony on Feb. 24, the team announced Wednesday.

Elias underwent knee surgery prior to last season and looked to make a comeback bid to the ice, but decided to hang up his skates this March. He did not suit up during any game last year. 

Tags: Patrik Elias
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 (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Devils F Ilya Kovalchuk will likely make his return to the NHL in the 2018-19 season, per NJ.com's Chris Ryan. 

Kovalchuk expressed interest in returning to the NHL this season with the Devils granting him permission to seek a deal with other teams. However, he told Russia-24 TV that he will likely play one last season in the SKA before returning to the states. 

As Kovalchuk sought deals this season, the Devils were not opposed to making a sign-and-trade. However, GM Ray Shero said the deal had to make sense for the Devils. 

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Center Nico Hischier, chosen by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the NHL hockey draft, puts on a jersey at the draft in Chicago. (AP)
Center Nico Hischier, chosen by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the NHL hockey draft, puts on a jersey at the draft in Chicago. (AP)

The Devils have signed first overall pick Nico Hischier to a maximum entry-level three-year contract, Vice President/GM Ray Shero announced on Saturday.

Hischier's contract is worth $925,000 AAV and includes performance bonuses. The 18-year-old just completed New Jersey's Development Camp on Saturday, according to the team.

Hischier tallied 38 goals and 48 assists in 57 games for for Halifax (QMJHL) in 2016-17, which was the most among rookies. In the playoffs, Hischier scored three goals and had four assists. 

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New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland)
New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland)

Despite the Devils lacking on the defensive front last season, G Cory Schneider believes the group the team already has, per NJ.com's Chris Ryan. 

Instead of the defense needing to improve, Schneider thinks the goals allowed last season were his fault. He knows that if he plays his game, there is bound to be a drastic change.

"Defensively, we're returning a lot of the guys we had last year. Goal prevention may have been more of a me issue than a team defense issue," Schneider said. "If I can play the way I know I can, it will obviously clear up any holes for defensive issues we have. I trust our defensemen. They player hard last year, they played their hearts out. We expect the same from them this year."

Tags: Cory Schneider
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GEICO SportsNite: Hischier 00:01:07
The number one overall pick in the NHL draft, Nico Hischier, talks with Justine Ward about his first practice with the New Jersey Devils.

The number one overall pick in the NHL draft, Nico Hischier, talks with Justine Ward about his first practice with the New Jersey Devils.


 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

Devils newest F Marcus Johansson is embracing the role as an underdog with the Devils, and believes the team can surprise the league this season, per NJ.com's Chris Ryan. 

Johansson knows playoff hockey, having made the postseason in six seasons with the Washington Capitals including last year. Now, he is on the other side of the spectrum with the Devils searching for their first playoff berth since the 2011-12 season where they lost in the Stanley Cup Final. 

Though the Devils were 12 games under .500 last season, he thinks the team is on the right path toward winning this year. 

"It's something that's moving in the right direction I fee like, and I don't mind being an underdog here," Johansson said. "I think we have a great team and if we can just put all the pieces together, I think we can surprise some people."

Tags: Marcus Johansson
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This offseason, the Devils allowed Beau Bennett to walk in free agency and bought out the contract of forward Mike Cammalleri

Bennett, a UFA, signed a one-year deal worth $650,000 with the Blues after leaving New Jersey. The Devils never really made a serious offer to Bennett, who notched 19 points in 65 games. 

Tags: Beau Bennett, Mike Cammalleri
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Devante Smith-Pelly (25) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Devante Smith-Pelly (25) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Capitals have agreed to terms with former Devil Devante Smith-Pelly on a one-year, two-way deal, the team announced. 

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Washington Capitals center Marcus Johansson (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
Washington Capitals center Marcus Johansson (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

The New Jersey Devils acquired forward Marcus Johansson from the Washington Capitals in exchange for 2018 second- and third-round picks.

Johansson, 26, recorded 24 goals and 34 assists in 82 games during the regular season and two goals and six assists in 13 playoff games for Washington.

A first-round pick in 2009, Johansson has 102 goals and 188 assists in 501 career NHL games.

The Devils will give up Florida's second-round pick and Toronto's third-round pick next season.

Tags: Washington Capitals
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 (Russell LaBounty/USA TODAY Sports)
(Russell LaBounty/USA TODAY Sports)

The Kings are expected to sign LW Michael Cammalleri to a one-year, $1 million deal, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie

The Devils had placed Cammalleri and RW Devante Smith-Pelly on unconditional waivers, for the purpose of buying out their contracts, the team announced Friday.

Tags: Mike Cammalleri
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Brian Boyle (24) carries the puck during the warm up in game four of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals at Air Canada Centre. Washington defeated Toronto 5-4. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Brian Boyle (24) carries the puck during the warm up in game four of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals at Air Canada Centre. Washington defeated Toronto 5-4. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils have signed free agent F Brian Boyle to a two-year deal worth $6.1 million, according to Chris Ryan of NJ.com.

The 32-year-old forward, who played the final 21 games with the Maple Leafs last year, reportedly was interested in returning to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Between Toronto and Tampa Bay in 2016-17, Boyle recorded 13 goals and 12 assists in 75 games.

The former New York Ranger has notched 93 goals, 76 assists and a minus-20 in 624 NHL games. 

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Devils introduce Hischier 00:00:54
The New Jersey Devils introduce their first overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft, Nico Hischier, on Monday night

New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

The New Jersey Devils extended qualifying offers to nine players, including defenseman Damon Severson and forward Blake Coleman, on Monday.

The Devils also extended offers to defenseman Vojtech Mozik, goaltender Scott Wedgewood and forwards Joseph BlandisiStefan NoesenBlake PietilaKevin Rooney and Ben Thomson.

Players have until July 15 to sign a contract with the team. They may sign an offer sheet with another team, but the Devils are given the right of first refusal or draft choice compensation.

The league's salary arbitration phase takes place from July 20 to Aug. 4.

Tags: Damon Severson
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 (David Banks)
(David Banks)

The New Jersey Devils drafted 11 players in the 2017 NHL Draft, including two third round picks, two fifth round picks, and three seventh round picks.


Round 1, 1st overall pick: C Nico Hischier

Scouting report...

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A general view during the national anthem prior to the start of the game between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. (Andy Marlin)
A general view during the national anthem prior to the start of the game between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. (Andy Marlin)

The Devils selected C Jesper Boqvist with the fifth pick in the second round of the NHL Draft on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago.

Boqvist had six assists in 16 games for Brynas IF in 2016-17 before moving to Timra IK, where he scored three goals and added nine assists in 19 games. In seven games of international competition at the IIHF U18 World Championship in 2016, he had two goals and an assist in seven games.

"The left-shot forward has great speed with offensive skill. Boqvist (6-0, 179) is a very good skater with good first-step quickness and balance," said Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com. "He's a skilled puck carrier, and effective in traffic."

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