New Jersey Devils, Jack Hughes
Photo by Mark Fischgrund

Predicting the Devils' 2023-24 individual awards

With the NHL season rapidly approaching, many eyes are on the New Jersey Devils. Before the season begins, let’s guess where the Devils will end up when the season ends, who our team MVP will be, an underdog coming into the season, someone who will have an underrated season and someone who will be the best teammate.

Season Expectations

The Devils finished a historic season losing in the second round of the playoffs to the Carolina Hurricanes in five games. They finished the regular season with a record of 52-22-8, making franchise history with the most wins ever. They finished second in the Metropolitan division and third in the league.

This was not the only time the Devils made franchise history this season. During October and November, they went on a 13-game win streak, tying the franchise record. Not only did they tie that record, superstar Jack Hughes broke the franchise record of points recorded in one season, putting up 99 points.

With the amount of success the Devils had last season, it is hard not to have high expectations for the Devils. But, as long as the Devils have a successful season and make it to the playoffs, no fan should be disappointed if they do not end with the same amount or more of wins/points.

I believe that next season the Devils will end up with a record of 50-24-8, a total of 108 points. Since the Carolina Hurricanes are a very stacked team, I believe it will be a tossup for who comes out first in the Metro and it will come down to the very last games of the season.

The playoffs are a different type of animal so it is hard to have expectations for the postseason knowing anything can happen. I do believe we should be successful in moving on in the first round, keeping up with anyone we play.

As our players are hitting their prime and getting more experience, we will see a smarter team and hopefully a more successful team. I have no doubts this season, and future seasons, the Devils will compete with everyone and have very successful seasons.

Team MVP

It is hard to give anyone this award besides Hughes, especially with the season he had last year.

One thing that I’d like to make known is the “Team MVP” award is not an award for someone that will carry the team to the playoffs. The Devils are still good without Hughes and can make it to the playoffs without him, but when he is playing there is more of a spark on the ice.

Last season, Hughes showed everyone not only is he a good playmaker, but he can score goals. He finished the season with 43 goals and 56 assists. I believe he will break 100 points this season, setting a new franchise record. He is a key part to our top six and can make the players around him better. It will be an exciting season for Hughes as he comes off a career year.


After a gruesome injury last season and adjusting to a new team for the first time in his career, many people don’t know what to expect with Ondrej Palat. Will he go back to his old self? Will this be the new normal for him?

I believe this season Palat will come back and be his old self. After ending with just 23 points last season, I believe this season he will end anywhere between 40 and 50. Although he was low on points last season, he still made an impact on this team with his veteran leadership.

I believe many people are hard on Palat because of the season he had, but they don’t think about the different things he went through in his first few months as a Devil. I expect him to prove everyone wrong and come out with a successful season.

Underrated Season

One player that I believe always has an underrated season is Michael McLeod. McLeod is the perfect example of a fourth liner, but also is our main face off guy. Having a top ten face off guy in the league is more important than people think.

McLeod is everything a general manager would want when looking for a fourth line center. He plays fast and gritty, but can also play the penalty kill if needed. He hustles all the time and never gives up on the play. Not only do his skills show how he is a perfect fourth liner, it always helps when players want to be here. McLeod is proud to be a Devil and shows that to everyone.

Points don’t show what McLeod does to help this team, which is why I believe he always has an underrated season. In the playoffs last year, you can argue he was one of, if not the best player in the second round.

Best Teammate

After joining the Devils after the trade deadline last season, I believe Timo Meier will be the best teammate to everyone. Like McLeod, Meier showed he wanted to be in Jersey, which means a lot to the players who have built this team up to be a place where players want to come to.

Another reason why I believe he will be the best teammate is because he will defend his teammates. He is not afraid to go after someone if one of our players gets hit the wrong way. That is the type of teammate that everyone wants.

The last reason I believe Meier will be the best teammate is because he was on the Devils last season for such a short amount of time and immediately made connections with everyone. This shows he has to be someone that people enjoy being around.

It’s hard to pick just one person for this award, so I’m picking Erik Haula as my second “Best Teammate”. Last season, Haula was always one to hype up his teammates on and off the ice. Although he did not start as a fan favorite, he quickly became one towards the end of the season when he was seen defending the younger guys on the team and always making sure they were okay.

I believe last season meant more to Haula than people realize. Haula has been known to switch to a different team every year recently. When he came to the Devils, he found a home, and got signed to a three-year extension at the end of last season. He made it clear there was no other place he wanted to be when being interviewed.

This season will be a fun and exciting season for everyone involved with the Devils. Eyes around the league are on the Devils to see what they will do this season. With less than 50 days until the season opener, there is a lot to be excited about.

Gabrielle Nordstrom