The New Jersey Devils had a wacky season last year. They ended up missing the playoffs, finishing with 88 points. Eighteen of those points came from overtime losses, but here's where things get kooky. They had ZERO shootout wins. They could not win a shootout. That is straight up fluky. Now, it would have taken six overtime wins to get them into the playoffs, but still, that won't happen again.
On the other hand, the Devils probably cost themselves a playoff appearance by trotting out the shell of Martin Brodeur for 39 starts, even though he was awful. Well, you've got to be generous to your veterans, right? Anyway, Brodeur had a .901 save percentage starting almost half the season, while Cory Schneider had a .921 SV% when it was deigned he could step in for Brodeur. That's going to change this season, and for the better. Schneider will start, and whomever is his backup will likely be better than Brodeur.
Then again, on another hand, their leading scorer was Jaromir Jagr, who is an elder statesman in and of himself. Can a dude that old score 67 points again? Or play all 82 games? The 38-year-old Patrick Elias was their second best scorer, and he may regress a bit too. This isn't a team with any real young talent. Not a single notable up-and-comer in the bunch at forward, and Adam Larsson hasn't made much progress on defense. The Devils added Mike Cammalleri and took a shot on Marty Havlat, but how much impact can they really have?
On a fourth hand, New Jersey had excellent puck possession numbers, and a low PDO that seems to indicate improvement. So, we've got age based regression and an unenthusiastic roster versus an improve in net and what will assuredly be more luck. As such, I figure this team will be a playoff contender, unless Jagr and Elias and those guys completely fall apart. I won't lock them into a postseason spot, but if they make it, I shall not be surprised.