Two years ago, the New Jersey Devils fell two games short of their fourth championship. ?Last year, the Devils missed the playoffs for the second time in three years. ?In a 14-month span, they lost their top three players to free agency and "retirement." ?Now they have a roster with mostly stop-gaps and aging veterans. ?There's no question the franchise in in a transition period. ?With all that said, the question remains, what's a realistic goal for the 2013-14 season?
Transition or not, this team needs to make the playoffs. ?I think that's a fair starting point. ?In a salary cap league, no team should be down in the dumps that long. ?Consider that outside of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings, the Eastern Conference isn't exactly a powerhouse. ?So even with all of the roster turnover, I don't think a return to the playoffs is asking too much of this Devils team.