COACH Peter DeBoer (1st season)
LAST SEASON 38-39-5 (11th in East)
KEY ADDITIONS LW Eric Boulton, RW Cam Janssen, D Adam Larsson
KEY LOSSES RW Brian Rolston, D Colin White
IT WAS A tale of two seasons in Newark. After a controversial off-season the Devils struggled early with injuries, a rookie coach and the fallout from Ilya Kovalchuk's free agency. Kovalchuk (below) ultimately re-signed, but only after the league rejected a previous deal for circumventing the salary cap, an infraction that cost New Jersey $3 million and draft picks. "There was a lot going on, and for whatever reason, we didn't handle it properly," says winger Zach Parise, who went down with a knee injury last November.
The Devils got off to their worst start in 27 years, but shortly after coach John MacLean was fired and Hall of Famer Jacques Lemaire was brought back, the club turned it around. New Jersey went 28-10-3 in the second half, creeping into the playoff picture in the final weeks and creating optimism for 2011--12.
This off-season was quieter than last year's, but another new coach and a thin defensive corps may mean a second straight sluggish start.
COACH Jack Capuano (2nd season)