Celebrating 40 Years Of Devils Hockey


With the upcoming 2022-2023 NHL season, the New Jersey Devils will be celebrating 40 years of existence as a team for the sport that we love and enjoy so much. Since arriving in New Jersey on May 27, 1982, the Devils have represented the Garden State with hockey very well. With 40 years of Devils hockey, there have been plenty of ups and downs, from signing Ilya Kovalchuk to that 15-year contract to holding Stanley Cup parades in the Meadowlands parking lot. Legendary players have come into the organization, and championships would be won that would be enshrined in Devils nation forever.

As we begin to celebrate, let’s look back at some of the top memories that have happened throughout history involving this team and reminisce on the times we have enjoyed watching this team, both past, and present.

The Moments

14: Drafting The Next Wave

Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

I will focus on the bigger names way down on the list, but the last three drafts should have Devils fans excited not only for the present but also for the future. In the 2020 Draft, the Devils had three first-round picks. They used them on Alexander Holtz, Dawson Mercer, and Shakir Mukhamadulin. We have not seen the latter of the picks, but Holtz went on to dominate with the Utica. Dawson Mercer had a very good rookie campaign for the Devils. Playing in all 82 games, he scored 17 goals, 25 assists, and 42 points.

In 2021, there was joy in Devils nation and much greater joy from Jack Hughes. The Devils would go on to draft his brother Luke Hughes. Hughes plays for the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA and will return for his sophomore season. His NHL debut is right around the corner.

In 2022, as we all saw the other night, the Devils selected Slovakian defenseman Simon Nemec. Another foundational piece on the back end that will shape the Devils for years to come. Hamilton, Hughes, Nemec. Yeah, that’s going to be wonderful.

13: The First Ever Playoff Berth

This is for the original Devils fans. On April 3, 1988, The New Jersey Devils would clinch the first-ever playoff berth in franchise history. In a dead-lock tie for the final spot with their rival New York Rangers, all eyes were on the Devils as the Rangers took care of their own business.

Devils forward John Maclean would tie the game against the Chicago Blackhawks. He would play the hero in overtime, scoring the game-winning goal and sending the Devils to the playoffs. This was the beginning for the young franchise.

12: Taylor Hall Wins The Hart Trophy

Taylor Hall went on to do something that no New Jersey Devils player has gone on to do. Hall had a career season for himself, scoring 39 goals, 54 assists, and 93 points. He and his center Nico Hischier had very good chemistry that season. It would be the highest point total of his career. He would go on to outbeat Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan Mackinnon.

His remarkable play that season helped the New Jersey Devils reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012 when they reached the Stanley Cup Final.

11. Drafting Nico Hischier

The New Jersey Devils have had quite the lottery luck the last few seasons. And that luck has allowed them to draft cornerstone picks that are a large part of the core that they currently have. In 2017, the Devils were awarded the number one overall pick where they selected center Nico Hischier. The emergence of Cale Makar in Colorado, who was selected fourth overall, should not overshadow picking Hischier. Currently, the captain of this team and one of the star centers they have on the roster and signed a long-term extension to remain in New Jersey.

Nico Hischier is coming off his best season, scoring 60 points in 70 games. Throughout his Devils career, he has 78 goals, 128 assists, and 206 points.

10. Martin Brodeur Breaks Patrick Roy’s Win Record

On March 17, 2009, history would be witnessed. For the longest time, Patrick Roy has been the winningest goalie in hockey history. Martin Brodeur was right on his tail, chasing him down. It finally happened. The Chicago Blackhawks came to town, and Brodeur and the Devils defeated them 5-2. Brodeur went on to capture win number 552 and cut the net, and is enshrined forever.

Fans always chanted “Marty’s better” and now they could go on to chant “Marty’s the Best”. Brodeur still holds the record and his win total is 691 and is a record that should stand for a long time. 

9: The Devils Draft Mr. Devil

On June 9, 1982, the Devils went on to draft a player that would show what it means to be a Devil. In the first round of the 1982 draft, the Devils would select Ken Daneyko at 18th overall. Daneyko was a Devil through and through and spent his entire career in New Jersey, skating in 1,283 games. The ultimate fan favorite and warrior on the ice, he would win 3 Stanley Cups and have his number retired to the rafters on March 24, 2006. He is now in the broadcast booth helping call Devils games.

8: Signing Dougie Hamilton

Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

On July 28, 2021, the Devils would make a big splash. A splash that has not been seen in the Garden State for quite some time. The Devils went out and signed Defenceman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year contract worth $63 Million. The Devils haven’t had a big presence on the back end since the days of Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer.

Hamilton suffered a broken jaw and missed a chunk of time. In 62 goals, he scored nine goals, 21 assists, and 30 points. But throughout his career, he has 115 goals, 256 assists, and 371 points. He has a career +53 and over 100 points on the powerplay.

7: Adam Henrique It’s Over

(Tony Kurdzuk | The Star-Ledger

Where we you when Adam Henrique scored the goal? You would not think one goal would create the best memory, but it did. In the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers, Adam Henrique is a hero. Prior to playing the hero in round one against the Florida Panthers, scoring the game-winner in Game 7, he got to do it again. After a scramble in front of the net, Henrique found the loose puck and put it in the back of the net.

This goal would send the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2003 and a legendary call by none other than Doc Emrick to enshrine this memory forever in Devils nation.

6: Patrik Elias GWG In 2000 ECF

Another goal that at the time was the biggest goal scored. Let’s also not forget Larry Robinsons’ speech to the team. After being down 3-1 in the series and having the game tied up at 1, the series became a dog fight. With two minutes to go in the game, Patrik Elias would get himself in position and slide the puck past Brian Boucher. The comeback was complete, and that goal sent the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1995.

5: Drafting Jack Hughes

Getty Images

After the Devils struck gold in 2017, the luck would continue. In the 2019 NHL Draft, the Devils would select Jack Hughes. Despite having a down rookie season, Jack Hughes is a blossoming superstar and is the franchise center for this team. Hughes had a career year despite it being filled with some injuries. He scored 26 goals, 30 assists, and 56 points. If he played a full season, Hughes was on pace for a 90-point season. Hughes inked an eight-year contract and will be a Devil for a very long time.

4: Acquiring Scott Stevens

In September of 1991, the Devils would get a player that would change the franchise forever. After the St. Louis Blues went on to sign forward Brendan Shannahan away from the New Jersey Devils, they were owed compensation. The Blues offered the Devils a wonderful offer. Goaltender Curtis Joseph, forward Rod Brind’Amour, and two draft picks. The Devils said no and only wanted Scott Stevens.

Even though Stevens initially refused to come to New Jersey as he wanted to remain where he was with his family, he came through. The physical defenceman would go on to become the Captain and would change the franchise forever. He is one of the all-time great players in Devils history. He led the franchise to three Stanley Cups and was the first Devil to have his number retired in team history.

3: The Third Stanley Cup June 2003

The New Jersey Devils would win their third Stanley Cup in franchise history. It would be the third championship in nine years. The team also made the Finals in 2001 but ultimately lost to Raymond Bourque and the high-powered Colorado Avalanche. Being to the finals 3 of the last four years, they were able to capture the holy grail once again. The Devils would set an NHL playoff record with 12 victories on home ice. The Devils would finish off the Boston Bruins in 5 games and did the same with Tampa Bay in a triple-overtime thriller, thanks to Grant Marshall. Ottawa presented the toughest test, but the Devils prevailed thanks to Jeff Friesen and his late-game heroics. The Devils met the Mighty Ducks in the Finals. Martin Brodeur would have three shutout victories in the Finals, which tied an NHL record. Rookie Mike Rupp would score the game-winning goal, and the Devils went on to defeat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in Game 7. And yes, Martin Brodeur should have walked away with the Conn Smythe that year.

2: The Second Stanley Cup June 2000

What a whirlwind of a season. From Making trades while in a downswing which included Alexander Mogilny, Claude Lemieux, and Vladamir Malakhov, to firing head coach Robbie Ftorek with eight games remaining. The Devils promoted Larry Robinson to take over behind the bench, and it proved to be the right move. The Devils posted a similar recipe in order to win the Stanley Cup. They were road warriors as they went 10-2 away from Continental Airlines Arena.

After sweeping the Florida Panthers in round 1, they met a tougher test in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Devils won the series in six games and held the Leafs to only six shots on net in that clinching game. After returning from a 3-1 deficit against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Devils got to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Dallas Stars. After a dump into the corner by Scott Stevens, Patrik Elias sent a blind pass to the front of the net, where Jason Arnott scored the goal. The Devils went on to defeat the Dallas Stars in six games.

1: The First-Ever Stanley Cup June 1995

Scott Stevens holds up the Stanley Cup after the Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings in four games to win the champioship on June 24, 1995 at the Meadowlands. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

On June 24, 1995, the New Jersey Devils would stand on top of the hockey world. After suffering defeat the year prior to the New York Rangers, a taste for victory fueled the team. The Devils dominated on the road, posting a 10-1 record away from home ice.

The Devils went on to sweep the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings, who had one of the best-assembled star-studded teams starving for a Stanley Cup. They smothered the Red Wings and had contributions all over the ice. The Devils dominated, and Claude Lemieux would go on to win the Conn Smythe.

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Stanley Cup Aspirations
  2. The Final Countdown
  3. Here Come the Playoffs
  4. Home Stretch
  5. Kevy Cooks

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