Talking Red

In a Short Season, a Small Lead is a Big Lead

Posted in on by EJ Fagan

All is good in Devils land. The New Jersey Devils have 17 points in 11 games, and are the #1 team in the Eastern Conference. After today’s game against Pittsburgh, a full 1/4 of the season will be over. Which makes the great Devils start that much more important.

Figure that it will take 54 points to make the playoffs this season. The Devils need only to earn 37 points in their remaining 37 games in order to reach that mark. That means that even if the team goes 18-18-1 over the remainder of the season, they would still be right on the 8th seed bubble. Given how well the Devils have played so far, this seems very likely.

You may think that it is a little early to be scoreboard watching, but it isn’t. The NHL trade deadline is on April 3rd this year, which by my count is 23 games away. Teams aren’t that far away from making decisions about whether they should be sellers or buyers at the deadline. The Devils almost certainly seem like buyers at this point–at least, buyers of forwards–and a lot of teams are looking like certain sellers as well. The Washington Capitols are probably already at that point, and teams like Colorado and Columbus are only one loosing streak away from hopelessness.

One other team a losing streak away? The Los Angeles Kings. Dustin Penner or even Dustin Brown would be very attractive deadline targets for the Devils, and would offer us a poetic justice cherry on top.