The 2018-19 season turned out to be a massive disappointment for the New Jersey Devils.
After returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs a year ago on the back of an MVP season from Taylor Hall, the Devils badly regressed this season and finished with the league’s third-worst record. Even with that fall in the standings, Devils ownership obviously still believes in the job general manager Ray Shero is doing and announced on Monday that the team has signed him to a multi-year contract extension.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team, but Shero will get the opportunity to continue putting his stamp on the team for the foreseeable future. He has been the Devils’ GM since 2015, leading the team to one postseason appearance in four years.
His most significant additions with the team over the past four years include Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen, using the No. 1 pick on Nico Hischier and, most importantly, the trade that landed them Hall from the Edmonton Oilers prior to the 2016-17 season.
Hall’s injury, which limited him to just 33 games this season, was one of the big factors in the Devils’ disappointing year.
Shero’s two big orders of business in the short-term will be working out a new long-term contract for Hall as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract, and also adding to the depth around him.
For as good as Hall is, and for as much as he carried the team to the playoffs a year ago, he alone is not going to be enough to get the Devils back to the postseason and make them a formidable threat in the Eastern Conference. Even with him the team has flaws offensively, and we saw what happened this season when he is not always available.
One area where he might get some help is if the Devils get a little bit of luck in the draft lottery. They have the third best odds (11.5 percent) of landing the No. 1 overall pick.