Have The Devils Had The Answer To Their Woes Right Under Their Nose?

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR A STRONGER START

Early October was an exciting time for New Jersey Devils fans and the organization alike. However, along with excitement for the fans, on the other end, it turns into quick decision-making (sometimes poor), rushing, and jumping the gun. This year, the emergence of former second-overall NHL Draft Pick Simon Nemec has made the spotlight extra hot on the Devils’ organization. In the Devil’s last preseason game at UBS Arena, the Devil’s D squad (that’s what I call it) faced the Islander’s full roster minus Bo Horvat. In that last preseason game, Simon Nemec (and Akira Schmid who had the shutout) were major contributors in embarrassing the Islanders in front of their home crowd. Not to mention, Simon Nemec scored a breakaway goal in the third period to finish the Islanders off 3-0. Now, after witnessing that game from a suite in the arena, I, for one, was pretty sure that Nemec, born in Slovakia, was sure to be dressed for the New Jersey Devil’s opening night festivities.

Even on X/Twitter, there was so much confidence many had already assumed he would be the new kid in the locker room. Then came the reality. The reality is that not only had the Devils just added Calder Trophy Worthy, Luke Hughes to the backend but they also signed Collin Miller as a free agent. Brendan Smith (who has not only recently gone from fan hated to fan favorite but also seems to be a specific target by George Parros and the NHL’s Department of Player Safety) making the opening night roster was a slight surprise when it (the roster) was released. Many people were surprised to see Nemec not make the team after a great preseason. But by the time October 12th came around, it was known Nemec didn’t make the final cut. Actually, it was the fact that newly acquired Colin Miller was benched, with most looking for a little bit of a new-look defense, that move was a head-scratcher. Before the final roster was announced, the hype around Nemec was growing. It was almost a home run for depth fantasy teams, to grab Nemec late in their draft. Simon Nemec has an uncanny ability to put himself into a position to create a play or a goal. For instance, Simon Nemec is, as of writing this, a point-per-game player. He has two assists and one goal for three points in three games. His game-winning goal in Seattle highlights his hockey knowledge and ability to capitalize. Watch his goal below, Nemec has racked up three points, five shots on goal, three blocks, and a -2 rating in his three games, also a game-winning goal. With Nemec stepping up quickly we have to remember that the Devils growing back into their winning ways has yet another catalyst. Take a look at Simon Nemec’s first goal, and let’s get into another Defensive highlight that has recently popped up on New Jersey’s blueline.

@DevilsJointx on X

“It’s exciting how Luke Hughes is starting his career and how Nemec is now doing the same. Hype is one thing but beginning to approach it is rare” (Regarding the emergence of two young Defenseman at the same time) – Tyler Bleszinki

@Papiblez on X

ANOTHER DEFENSEMAN MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE

Suffering an early injury keeping him out of the Devil’s lineup until recently is Defenseman Colin Miller. New Jersey picked Miller up over the summer through free agency, and a lot of fans weren’t very aware of who was coming their way. So, going back to the title of this article, it seems that the Devils have had what they’ve been looking for right under their nose this whole time. Before his Devils debut, Miller was known by fans to be the very sharp-dressed man sitting in the box with scratched and injured players. Miller is the opposite of what the Devils get from Nemec. Through his first ten games as a Devil, Miller only has one assist. His role right now is not to be leading the rush and putting pucks into the net. With all the goals New Jersey has been letting into their net, Miller is a surprising plus 1. Last game in Seattle Miller came close to getting his first goal as a Devil multiple times, one going off the post.

Most importantly, Miller has been solid defensively, so we can only come to one conclusion. With Miller starting his Devils career ten games ago and Nemec just three games ago, the Devils have won five of their last six. Have the Devils found what they’ve lacked due to the likely season-ending injury to Devil’s top Defenseman, Dougie Hamilton? Fans hope so, pundits think so, and the numbers show it too. We can only hope and see that the Devil’s recent turnaround keeps going strong. Last season, December was the Devil’s worst month with January being their best month. The way things look it’s going to be a long December for Devils opponents this Holiday season.

UP TO THE MINUTE DEVILS CLIPS AND CONTENT

For more New Jersey Devils content, check out @DevilsJointX on X/Twitter. Devils Joint also just started a new YouTube channel, which you can find at the same handle @DevilsJointX. Devils Joint provides up-to-the-minute goal replays, live streams, unique videos, interviews with players, and more from the Devils Organization. There are multiple giveaways going on on both channels, so make sure to subscribe!

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Joseph Stassi

Joseph Stassi is a Writer/Musician from New York. He covers the New Jersey Devils on X @DevilsJointX and YouTube with the same handle.

6 thoughts on “Have The Devils Had The Answer To Their Woes Right Under Their Nose?

  1. Great read! Good luck to Nemec! Loving Miller too. Looking forward to seeing them the rest of the season and what they bring to the games!

  2. this was like a time machine! Miller saved the game for the Devils. Luke Hughes turned the puck over into a 3 on 1 with Miller left alone and he made the play! Good Call!! great article!!

  3. I’m not gonna lie I wasn’t too high on miller coming out of the preseason but he’s really impressed me so far. However I always thought nemec should have made the team and been up since the beginning of the year over smith.

  4. I agree on everything you stated about Colin & Simon. It’s crazy how long it took for these two to actually make their devils debuts. To only think where we could be in the standings if they started the season with the big club.

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