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Will the New Jersey Devils be this Season's Dark Horse in the East?

by Glenn Kaplan
by Glenn Kaplan

The Eastern Conference in the NHL isn't a cupcake by any means. It is brutal night in and night out. The east has the toughest division in the entire NHL in the Metropolitan Division. The New Jersey Devils play in that division and they are off to a 5-2-1 start with 11 points so far this season. Could they be a dark horse team in the east this season?

The New Jersey Devils play a scrappy game, but they also have skill to go along with it. Taylor Hall would be a perfect example of that. He won the Hart Trophy last season and he is off to a nice start again this season with two goals and nine assists. His plus/minus is 2.

Kyle Palmieri leads the team in goals with eight. He also has five assists. His plus/minus is 3. Nico Hischier has scored three goals and recorded five assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 8. Sami Vatanen, Will Butcher, and Mirco Mueller each have four assists. Vantanen's plus/minus is 3 and Butcher's and Mueller's is -1.

The New Jersey Devils have scored 28 goals and given up 20 goals so far this season. Keith Kinkaid has started every game because of Cory Schneider's injury. Kinkaid's record is 5-2-1 with a .925 save percentage and a 2.12 GAA, along with two shutouts.

A lot of people think Kinkaid isn't a starting goalie and in some ways it could be true, but he is a lot better than what people have down I-95 in Philadelphia.

The New Jersey Devils will need to acquire some more goal scoring at some point this season. They do have some good role players, but New Jersey doesn't have enough to make a deep playoff run at the moment especially in a tough east.

The Devils did make the playoffs last season for the first time 2011-2012, but they were ousted in five games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The New Jersey Devils will be a fun team to watch as the season moves on and I have them as one of my teams to get into the postseason, but whether they can make a deep run remains in question and New Jersey will need some lucky breaks along the way for that to happen.

This article was originally published on @gk18