By: Mike Luciano (@THG_MikeLuci)
Recent years have shown that the New Jersey Devils aren’t exempt from suffering competitive setbacks in the wake of losing core players. The losses of Scott Niedermayer (2005), Brian Rafalski (2007), and Scott Gomez (2007), all of whom departed via unrestricted free agency, exemplified the Devil’s proclivity to the consequences of that scenario. While the Devils remained regular postseason contenders through the 2009-2010 season, their glaring shortcomings became more apparent as each season progressed. Until this postseason, the Devils hadn’t won a playoff series since 2007.
For a team that usually makes the playoffs, only to fall apart in the opening round, one has to wonder how these past outcomes would be different if their core remained intact.
Since 2007, the Devils have sorely needed another top-two center and a top-pairing offensive defenseman; needs that were never directly addressed. Looking back on those years, it was apparent that the De...