John MacLean (1st season)
48-27-7 (2nd in East); lost in first round to Flyers
C Jason Arnott, D Henrik Tallinder, D Anton Volchenkov
D Paul Martin, D Mike Mottau, C Rob Niedermayer
SO, WAS IT worth it? By re-signing winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a 15-year, $100 million contract the Devils have committed themselves to a $6.7 million annual salary-cap hit until Kovy turns 42. That deal came only after the league had nixed a previous 17-year, $102 million agreement because it violated the spirit of the cap rules, punishing New Jersey with a $3 million fine and the loss of two high draft picks.