Even prior to a wild and unpredictable 2013 off-season, the New Jersey Devils were going to see a lot of competition on their NHL roster from young prospects, most notably on defense, where the organization is deep and skilled. Despite the amount of veteran depth on paper in the organization, several forwards in the system could also fight their way into the NHL lineup.
The New Jersey Devils started the lockout shortened 2012-13 season on fire. Following a home-and-home sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins in February, New Jersey sat atop of the Eastern Conference. Then the injuries started to take their toll. Without key contributors like Dainius Zubrus, Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk, the team tumbled down the standings. An inability to score, combined with some terrible luck down the stretch, kept New Jersey out of the playoffs for a second time in three years.
Below is the bottom third of the NHL Team Rankings in terms of prospects as voted on by Hockey's Future staff. To determine the ranking, each team's entire prospect pool was taken into consideration. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
In terms of strengths and weaknesses, not much has changed for the New Jersey Devils organization. They continue to be well stocked on the blue line, which is good for the future because, aside from Adam Larsson and Mark Fayne, the majority of defensman in New Jersey are on the wrong-side of 30. In between the pipes, the Devils have finally started to plan for future and have a solid group of goaltending prospects. Upfront is a bit of a different story. There is some decent depth at wing and center, but in terms of top-six ability, there is not much to get excited about.