What is wrong with the Devils? That is the question that all Devil's fan's are asking right now. After such a strong start, the Devil's have faltered in the last couple of weeks and have slid from 1st in the east all the way to 7th. There are several possible causes for the slide but I have highlighted below the few that I believe are the most pressing.
Scoring-With Parise signing in Minnesota, we all knew scoring would be an issue. However, it has become more of an issue than I think anyone thought it would become. As of this moment, the Devils rely on only a few players to score; Kovalchuk, Elias, Clarkson, Henrique, and Zajac. Zajac has had a miserable start to his season and has failed to produce the way the Devil's had hoped that he would. The rest of the forwards provide very little scoring. This leaves a situation where on nights where those few guys do not score, the team does not win.
Constant Change-DeBeor does not have an easy job. The Devils roster is comprised of older players who do not produce (Tallinder, Volchenkov) or bottom six players who are not expected to produce (Gionta, Carter, Ponikarovsky). However, every game brings with it different line combinations and that is not a good thing. Players rarely have enough time to develop chemistry with one another and it shows, particularly on the power play. Baseball players say all the time, they do not care where they hit in the lineup, they just want to hit there consistently. Hockey players do not care who they play with, they just want to play with them every night so they can learn their tendencies. There is too much line shuffling taking place and the defensemen are constantly shuffled in and out of the lineup.
Depth-The overall depth on this team is lacking. Last years stanley cup team featured a team that had 3 solid lines that could be counted on to score with the Gionta-Carter-Bernier line as a tremendous grinding fourth line. However, this year that line is being counted on to be the 3rd line and that is the sign of a team lacking in depth. This team needs to add a few players who can constitute a legit NHL 3rd line.