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The New Jersey Devils are a professional ice hockey team based in Newark, New Jersey. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The club was founded in Kansas City, Missouri in 1974, moved to Denver, Colorado after only two seasons, and then settled in New Jersey in 1982. Under current general manager Lou Lamoriello, the Devils have made the playoffs in 18 out of the last 20 seasons, including each of the last 11. They won the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000, and 2003.
The Devils play their home games in Newark at the Prudential Center, which first opened for the 2007-08 season. Previously, they played at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which is now named the Izod Center.
They have rivalries with their trans-Hudson neighbor, the New York Rangers, and with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The club would eventually be playing right in the middle of the New York–New Jersey–Connecticut tri-state area, home to the three-time defending Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders, as well as the very popular New York Rangers. The Devils had to compensate the Islanders, Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers for "invading" New Jersey.
1982-1993: BUILDING A FRANCHISE
On June 30, 1982, the former Colorado Rockies were renamed the New Jersey Devils, after the legend of the Jersey Devil, an ominous cryptozoological creature supposed to inhabit the Pine Barrens of South Jersey. Over 10,000 people voted in a contest held by local newspapers to select the name. The Devils' first game ended in a 3–3 tie to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their first win, a 3-2 victory, came in New Jersey at the expense of their new trans-Hudson rivals, the New York Rangers. The team finished with a 17-49-14 record, putting them three points above last place in the Patrick Division.
In the following season, the Devils were publicly humiliated by Wayne Gretzky after they were blown out 13-4 by his team, the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky was upset that former teammate Ron Low played for what he considered an inferior team, and in a post-game interview said:
“Well, it's time they got their act together, folks. They're ruining the whole league. They had better stop running a Mickey Mouse organization and put somebody on ice.”
Later, Gretzky publicly admitted that his comment went too far, but privately maintained that his comment was accurate. In response, many Devils fans wore Mickey Mouse apparel when the Oilers returned to New Jersey.
In the 1983–84 season, the Devils hosted the annual NHL All-Star Game at the Brendan Byrne Arena. Chico Resch was the winning goaltender, and Devils defenseman Joe Cirella tallied a goal as the Wales Conference beat the Campbell Conference 7–6. However, the team did not achieve much success. Head coach Bill MacMillan was fired midway through the season and replaced with Tom McVie, and the Devils won only 17 games. After the season, McVie was replaced by Doug Carpenter.
Meanwhile, the Devils had begun building a nucleus of young players. John MacLean, Kirk Muller, and Pat Verbeek all complemented the veteran leadership of Resch. The team's record improved each season between 1984 and 1987. However, the presence of the powerful Islanders, Flyers and Capitals in the Patrick Division meant that the Devils found themselves in a losing battle with the Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins for the division's last playoff spot. The Devils actually finished last in the Patrick in 1986 and 1987 despite improving their record.
Hoping to light a spark under the team, McMullen hired Providence College coach and athletic director Lou Lamoriello as team president in April 1987. Lamoriello appointed himself general manager shortly before the 1987–88 season. This move came as a considerable surprise to NHL circles. Although Lamoriello had been a college coach for 19 years, he had never played, coached, or managed in the NHL and was almost unknown outside the American college hockey community.
The 1987–88 Devils garnered the first winning record in the franchise's 13-year history. On the final day of the regular season, they were tied with their nemesis, the Rangers, for the final playoff spot in the Patrick Division. After New York defeated the Quebec Nordiques 3–0, all eyes were on the Devils, who were playing the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago. The Devils were trailing 3-2 midway through the third period when John MacLean tied the game, and with two minutes left in overtime, he added the winning goal. Although the Rangers and Devils both finished with 82 points, the Devils had one more win, sending them to the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.
The team made it all the way to the conference finals, but lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games. In that series, head coach Jim Schoenfeld verbally abused referee Don Koharski after the third game, screaming obscenities. During the exchange, Koharski slipped and fell against the wall. He immediately claimed that Schoenfeld had pushed him, but Schoenfeld retorted that Koharski had fallen down. As Koharski snapped that Schoenfeld was "gone," Schoenfeld replied, "Good, 'cause you fell, you fat pig. Have another donut!" League disciplinarian Brian O'Neill ordered Schoenfeld to sit out game four. The Devils demanded a hearing, but O'Neill refused. Claiming their rights as well as Schoenfeld's had been violated, the Devils appealed to New Jersey Superior Court judge James F. Madden—an unprecedented appeal to authority outside the league. Forty minutes before game time, Madden ordered the suspension overturned pending a formal league hearing. In his order, Madden pointed out that the NHL's investigation consisted of two phone calls—one to Koharski and one to Schoenfeld—and criticized O'Neill for not reviewing the videotape. In protest, referee Dave Newell and linesmen Gord Broseker and Ray Scapinello refused to work the game. After more than an hour's delay, three off-ice officials—Paul McInnis, Jim Sullivan and Vin Godleski—were tracked down to work the game. McInnis served as the referee, while Sullivan and Godleski worked the lines wearing yellow scrimmage sweaters. Notably, league president John Ziegler was away on personal business and could not be contacted, leaving Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, as chairman of the league's board of governors, to give the order to play the game with backup officials.
Ziegler conducted a hearing on May 10, and suspended Schoenfeld for game five and fined him $1,000; the Devils were fined $10,000. Schoenfeld later admitted he regretted his comments. Nonetheless, Devils fans and broadcasters claimed that the officials shortchanged them for several years afterward.
The next season, the Devils once again slipped below .500 and missed the playoffs. Lamoriello made several postseason player changes, notably signing of the first two Soviet stars to play in the NHL: Viacheslav Fetisov and Sergei Starikov. The Devils drafted Fetisov years earlier in the 1983 entry draft, but the Soviet government did not allow Fetisov, who was an Army officer as well as a member of the national team, to leave the country. Shortly after, the Devils signed Fetisov's defense partner, Alexei Kasatonov.
The team changed coaches midway through each of the next two seasons. Schoenfeld was replaced with John Cunniff in 1989–90, and Tom McVie was re-hired midway through the 1990–91 season and helmed the team through its third-straight first-round elimination in 1991–92. Herb Brooks, who coached the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team, was brought in for the 1992–93 season, but when the team yet again was eliminated in the first round, he was fired and replaced with former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Lemaire.
1993-2004: THE GLORY YEARS
Under Lemaire, the team roared through the 1993–94 regular season with a lineup including defensemen Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Ken Daneyko, forwards Stephane Richer, John MacLean, Bobby Holik, and Claude Lemieux, and goaltenders Chris Terreri and Martin Brodeur, who was honored as the league's top rookie with the Calder Memorial Trophy. The Devils' first 100-point season earned them the NHL's second-best record behind the New York Rangers. However, due to the NHL's new playoff format, the Devils were seeded third in the East, behind the Rangers and Penguins. The Devils and Rangers met in a memorable Eastern Conference Finals match up, which went seven games. The Devils had lost all six regular season meetings to the Blueshirts, but let the world know they were up for the challenge, after Stephane Richer scored the game winning goal in the second overtime of Game One. Going into Game 6, the Devils led the series 3-2. Before the game Rangers captain Mark Messier made his famous guarantee that the Rangers would win Game 6. Keeping true to his word, Messier led his team back, netting a natural hat trick, and leading the Rangers to a 4-2 victory (after the Devils were up 2–0). In game seven, the Devils' Valeri Zelepukin tied the deciding game with 7.7 seconds remaining, but the Devils were defeated in double overtime, on a goal by Stephane Matteau. Devils fans, however, claimed that Esa Tikkanen was in the crease, and the goal should have been wiped out. Nonetheless, the series is viewed by many hockey fans as one of the greatest playoff series in NHL history.
Despite the setback, the team returned to the Eastern Conference Finals during the lockout-shortened 1995 season and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers four games to two. They then stunned the hockey world, sweeping the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings to win New Jersey's first-ever Stanley Cup, and the first major professional sports championship in the state's history, as they brought the Cup - in the timeless words of radio play-by-play man Mike Miller - "from the Garden to the Garden State." Claude Lemieux was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. The Devils established an NHL record by posting 11 road victories in one playoff season (a feat equaled only by New Jersey's second Stanley Cup team in 2000). The success also came amid constant rumors that the team would move for the third time in its history to Nashville (which eventually gained their own NHL expansion team).
The Devils missed the playoffs by 2 points the following season, with a 37-33-12 record. They were beaten by the Tampa Bay Lightning for the last playoff spot in the East on the last day of the season. It marked the first time in 26 years that a defending Cup champion failed to reach the playoffs. Throughout the remainder of the decade, the Devils failed to live up to expectations. They were ousted by the New York Rangers in the second round of the 1997 playoffs, and were eliminated in the first round by the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins the next two seasons.
But in the 1999–00 season, however, they reached the top again, defeating the defending champion Dallas Stars in six games to win the Stanley Cup for the second time. Stevens, Holik, Niedermayer, and Brodeur, all integral parts of the 1995 team, were augmented with new players acquired in the intervening five years including Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora, Jason Arnott, Alexander Mogilny, and rookies Brian Rafalski, John Madden, and Calder Trophy recipient Scott Gomez. A highlight of the Devils' second championship run was their come-from-behind victory in the conference finals. They trailed the Philadelphia Flyers three games to one, but rebounded to win the three straight games and the series. This was both the first time in Devils playoff history and in NHL Conference Finals history that a 3-1 deficit was surmounted. This series was also remembered for the pulverizing hit that team captain Scott Stevens laid on Flyers captain Eric Lindros, effectively ending Lindros' career in Philadelphia. Stevens was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, and assisted on Jason Arnott's Stanley Cup-clinching goal in double-overtime of Game 6 in Dallas.
Led by the Elias-Arnott-Sykora line (The A Line) and the stellar play of goaltender Martin Brodeur, the Devils reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight year in 2001. They lost the series to the Colorado Avalanche despite leading 3-2 and having game six on home ice. The team's strong regular season was recognized at the NHL's annual awards that year, with Madden becoming the first player in franchise history to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy (for top defensive forward), along with Brodeur and Stevens named as finalists for the Vezina Trophy (top goalie) and Norris Trophy (top defensemen) awards respectively.
In the 2001–02 season, they were expected to be contenders once again, but they finished the season as just the 3rd best team in the Atlantic Division, with 95 points. The Devils entered the playoffs as a 6 seed, but lost in the first round to the number 3 seed Carolina Hurricanes.
In 2003, the Devils finished first in the Atlantic Division with 108 points, earning the number 2 seed in the East. Their playoff run included a seven-game conference final series victory, decided in the final three minutes on a goal by newly acquired forward Jeff Friesen, over the Ottawa Senators, who won the President's Trophy that season. In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim had a back and forth battle, with both teams winning only their home games. The Devils brought the Stanley Cup to New Jersey a third time, defeating the Ducks in the 7th game of the Finals in New Jersey. Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Ken Daneyko, and Sergei Brylin each won their third Cup, and after the series, Daneyko, a long-time fan favorite, announced his retirement. Despite Anaheim's loss, the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP was awarded to their goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere who was the first player not on the championship team to be named playoff MVP since Ron Hextall in 1987. Some hockey writers speculated a New Jersey player did not win because there were multiple candidates, resulting in a split vote among the sportswriters who select the winner. However, Brodeur was awarded the Vezina Trophy as outstanding goaltender in the regular season for the first time in his career.
In the 2003–04 season, Martin Brodeur took home the Vezina Trophy again. Despite the permanent loss of long time team captain Scott Stevens the Devils finished second in the Atlantic Division with 100 points. With the sixth seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Devils lost to the Philadelphia Flyers four games to one. In March 2004, near the end of the season, Lehman Brothers executive Jeffrey Vanderbeek purchased a controlling interest from Puck Holdings and resigned from Lehman Brothers to assume full-time ownership. He had been a minority owner since the 2000 sale.
2005-PRESENT: POST-LOCKOUT, THEN POST-MEADOWLANDS
During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, many Devils players played in European leagues and in the hockey world championships. Patrik Elias, who was playing in the Russian Superleague, contracted hepatitis A. Faced with Elias' indefinite recovery timetable, plus the loss of defensive stalwarts Scott Niedermayer to free agency and Scott Stevens to retirement, Lamoriello signed veteran defenseman Dan McGillis and two former Devils — winger Alexander Mogilny and defenseman Vladimir Malakhov, none of whom finished the season on the ice. In July 2005, the team announced that head coach Pat Burns would not return for the 2005–2006 season after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time in little more than a year. Assistant coach Larry Robinson, the team's head coach from 2000 to 2002, was promoted to start the season.
The Devils struggled early in the 2005–06 season, ending the 2005 calendar year with a 16-18-5 record. Robinson resigned as head coach on December 19, and Lamoriello moved down to the bench. Once Elias returned from his bout with hepatitis, the team quickly turned around, finishing 46-27-9 after a season-ending eleven-game winning streak (and a simultaneous collapse by the rival New York Rangers) earned them a sixth Atlantic Division title. On the season's final day, New Jersey rallied from three goals down for a dramatic 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. During that final victory, Brian Gionta set a new team record for goals in a season with 48, topping Pat Verbeek's 46. The win streak to close the year was also an NHL record.
On April 29, 2006, the Devils swept their first round Stanley Cup playoff series against the New York Rangers four games to none, extending their winning streak to fifteen games and marking the first time the Devils defeated their cross-river rival in a playoff series. The team's season ended in the next round with an 4-1 Game 5 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, who eventually won the Stanley Cup.
In the offseason, the Devils hired former Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien to replace Lamoriello behind the bench. However, in the last week of the 2006–2007 Devils season, with just three games left, Julien was fired, and Lamoriello once again reprized his coaching role. The move was reminiscent of Robbie Ftorek's firing with eight games left in the 1999–00 season, after which the Devils won the Stanley Cup. Lamoriello defended the move saying, "I don't think we're at a point of being ready both mentally and otherwise to play the way that is necessary going into the playoffs." The Devils did, however go on to win their seventh Atlantic Division title and earn the second seed in the Eastern Conference after finishing ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins by two points. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in the first round, but struggled against the fourth-seeded Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and lost to them in five games. Their final loss of the series on May 5, 2007 marked the final game of the Devils' 25-year history at the Continental Airlines Arena.
On July 13, 2007, Brent Sutter was named the 14th head coach of the team, along with previous coach Larry Robinson, to aide John MacLean as the second assistant coach. On August 7, 2007, the Devils signed former Islander Arron Asham. After the Devils preseason came to an end, Devils prospects Nicklas Bergfors and David Clarkson made the final roster. The Devils opened their new arena, the Prudential Center, on October 27, 2007 against the Ottawa Senators after opening the season with a nine game road trip. The game ended with a 4-1 win for Ottawa.
On October 31, 2007, the New Jersey Devils won their first home game at the Prudential Center by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-1. Jay Pandolfo was the first Devils player to score a hat trick at the Prudential Center. In a dramatic last game of the season against their rivals the New York Rangers, the Devils won in a shootout, giving them home ice advantage over the Rangers in the playoffs. The Devils lost the series against the Rangers 4-1, losing all three games at the Prudential Center. The following week Brodeur became a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for the eighth time (he won in 2003, 2004, and 2007) and forward John Madden became a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the fourth time (having won once in 2000). Martin Brodeur was awarded the Vezina Trophy for the fourth time in five years.
|No.||Player||Position||Height||Weight||Date Of Birth||Country||Acquired|
|2||Mark Fraser||D||6' 3"||220||Sept 29,1986||Template:Team Canada||2005 Entry Draft,3rd Round,84th Overall|
|5||Colin White||D||6' 4"||220||Dec 12,1977||Template:Team Canada||1996 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, 49th Overall|
|6||Andy Greene||D||5' 11"||195||Oct 30,1982||Template:Team United States||April 4, 2006 Signed as Free Agent|
|7||Paul MartinIR||D||6' 1"||200||Mar 5,1981||Template:Team United States||2000 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, 62nd Overall|
|8||Dainius ZubrusIR||C||6' 5"||225||June 1978||Template:Team Lithuania||1996 Entry Draft,1st Round 15th Overall by the Flyers|
|9||Zach Parise"A"||LW||5' 11"||190||July 28,1984||Template:Team United States||2003 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, 17th Overall|
|10||Rod Pelley||C||5' 11"||195||Sept 1,1984||Template:Team Canada||July 1, 2008 Signed as Free Agent|
|11||Dean McAmmond||C||5' 11"||195||June 15,1973||Template:Team Canada||1991 Entry Draft 1st Round 22nd Overall by the Blackhawks|
|12||Brian Rolston||LW||6' 2"||210||Feb 21,1973||Template:Team United States||1991 Entry Draft 1st Round 11th Overall|
|15||Jamie Langenbrunner"C"||RW||6'1"||205||July 24,1975||Template:Team United States||1993 Entry Draft 2nd Round 35th Overall|
|16||Matt Halischuk||RW||5'11"||185||June 1,1988||Template:Team Canada||2007 Entry Draft, 4th Round, 117th Overall|
|17||Ilkka PikkarainenIR||RW||6'2"||215||April 19,1981||Template:Team Finland||2002 Entry Draft 7th Round 218th Overall|
|18||Niclas Bergfors||RW||5'11||195||Mar 7,1987||Template:Team Sweden||2005 Entry Draft 1st Round 23rd Overall|
|19||Travis Zajac||C||6'3"||200||May 13,1985||Template:Team Canada||2004 Entry Draft, 1st Round, 20th Overall|
|20||Jay PandolfoIR||LW||6'1"||190||Dec 27,1974||Template:Team United States||1993 Entry Draft 2nd Round 32nd Overall|
|21||Rob NiedermayerIR||C||6'2"||200||Dec 28, 1974||Template:Team Canada||1993 Entry Draft 1st Round 5th Overall|
|22||Pierre-Luc Lerourneau-Leblond||LW||6'2"||215||June 4,1985||Template:Team Canada||2004 Entry Draft 7th Round 216th Overall|
|23||David Clarkson||RW||6'1"||200||March 31,1984||Template:Team Canada||Signed as a Free Agent|
|26||Patrik Elias"A"||LW||6'1"||195||April 13,1976||Template:Team Czechoslovakia||1994 Entry Draft 2nd Round 51st Overall|
|27||Mike Mottau||D||6'0"||190||Mar 19,1978||Template:Team Sweden||1997 Entry Draft 7th Round 182nd Overall|
|28||Vladimir Zharkov||RW||6'1"||225||Jan 10,1988||Template:Team Russia||2006 Entry Draft 3RD Round 77th Overall|
|29||Johnny Oduya||D||6'0"||200||Oct 1,1981||Template:Team Sweden||2001 Entry Draft 7th Round 221st Overall|
|30||Martin Brodeur||G||6'2"||215||May 5,1972||Template:Team Canada||1990 Entry Draft 1st Round 20th Overall|
|32||Matthew Corrente||D||6'0"||200||Mar 17,1988||Template:Team Canada||2006 Entry Draft 1st Round 30th Overall|
|35||Yann Danis||G||6'0"||185||Jun 21,1981||Template:Team Canada||Signed As A Free Agent|
|Edit This Roster|
- Don Lever1982/83-1983/84
- Mel Bridgman 1983/84-1986/87
- Kirk Muller 1987/88-1990/91
- Bruce Driver 1991/92
- Scott Stevens 1992/93-2003/04
- No Captain 2005/06
- Patrick Elias 2006/07
- Jamie Langenbrunner 2007/08-Present
Record Per Season
NHL Award Winners
Martin Brodeur -Calder Trophy '93-'94. -Vezina Trophy '02-'03, '03-'04, '06-'07, '07-'08. -Jennings Trophy '96-'97, '97-'98, '02-'03, '03-'04.
Scott Stevens -Conn Smythe Trophy '00-'01. -Plus/Minus award '93-'94.
Scott Niedermeyer -Norris Trophy '03-'04.
John Madden -Selke Trophy '00-'01.
Ken Daneyko -Masterton Trophy '99-'00.
Claude Lemieux -Conn Smythe Trophy '94-'95.
Patrick Elias -Plus/Minus award '00-'01
Scott Gomez -Calder Trophy '99-'00.
Mike Dunham -Jennings Trophy '96-'97.
Jacques Lemaire -Adams Trophy '93-'94.
Lou Lamoriello -Lester Patrick Award '92.
Mike Emrick -Lester Patrick Award '04.
Hall of Fame Members
Scott Stevens 2007
Ken Daneyko - #3
Scott Stevens - #4