Welcome to New Jersey Devils News & Rumors, a weekly segment that will be released every Friday this season. Since our last edition, the Devils continue to impress, winning three straight contests against the Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto Maple Leafs.
On Nov. 17, NHL.com released their Super 16 ranking, and the Devils earned the second spot behind the Boston Bruins. Shawn P. Roarke said, “the Devils might be the most polarizing team in the league right now.” Fans, media and opposing teams are continuing to take notice of New Jersey as they keep collecting impressive wins like their overtime victory over the Maple Leafs on Nov. 17.
Vanecek Ranked Among the Best
Vitek Vanecek’s 2.15 goals-against average (GAA) is currently ranked third-best in the league behind Linus Ullmark and Connor Hellebuyck. With his victory over the Maple Leafs, he became the third goaltender in Devils history to win eight consecutive contests joining Martin Brodeur and Chris Terreri.
On July 19, Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald announced that the club signed Vanecek to a three-year $10.2 million contract with an average annual value of $3.4 million. The 26-year-old continues to prove his value and was in the net for eight of the team’s victories over their 11-game winning streak.
Devils Continue to Prove This Season is Different
It was easy for fans and media to say the Devils’ early success this season was due to their schedule and the fact that they aren’t dealing with a massive amount of injuries, but at this point, the club is proving their 14-3-0 record is not a fluke. It seems that every night they are breaking or matching a franchise streak.
The Devils’ win against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena marked their first win in Toronto since Oct. 11, 2017. They earned 11 straight wins for the first time since 2006 and have tied the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. New Jersey is currently on a seven-game winning streak for the first time since Jan. 11, 2012, to Feb. 21, 2012.
Latest News & Highlights
After their game against Toronto, Nico Hischier was asked what kind of statement he thinks an 11-game winning streak makes to the rest of the league, and the captain had a very direct answer.
“We are a really good team. We believe in each other here, and we are playing some really good hockey. It’s not going to be easy to play against us.”
What’s Going On with Brunette?
There was chatter this week surrounding Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette and the Vancouver Canucks. There’s speculation that Bruce Boudreau’s time is running out as Vancouver’s bench boss. On a recent episode of The Jeff Marek Show, the hosts talked about the rumor clarifying that Vancouver did not ask permission to talk with Brunette, and continued to say it is very rare for a coach to leave midseason. On an episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast, Elliotte Friedman said he believes the Canucks checked in on Brunette’s availability over the summer and potentially even during training camp, but feels the Devils will not let him go during the season. This could be a story that needs to be revisited near the conclusion of the 2022-23 campaign.
Catching Up With the Comets
The Utica Comets dropped both games this past week against the Laval Rocket and Syracuse Crunch, as they were outscored by a 13 to seven margin. Former second-overall pick Simon Nemec collected three assists this past week, while Brian Pinho continues to impress, earning a point in every game this season except for one. The 27-year-old is currently on a four-game point streak and has a team-leading 10 points in 10 games.
On Nov. 15, it was announced that forward Mason Geertsen would be suspended for six games for leaving the bench for the purpose of starting an altercation. He received a game misconduct and will miss the following games: Friday (Nov. 18) at Rochester; Saturday (Nov. 19) vs. Rochester; Nov. 23 vs. Belleville; Nov. 25 and 26 at Charlotte; and Nov. 30 vs. Laval.
That’s all for this week’s news & rumors. Be sure to check back next week to find out the latest happenings surrounding the Devils.
Kristy has been contributing to The Hockey Writers since March of 2021. She is thrilled to be putting her journalism degree to use and is a credentialed correspondent covering the New Jersey Devils. Kristy is also a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. You can follow her journey on Twitter @InStilettos_NHL and Instagram SkatingInStilettos.