The New Jersey Devils were widely considered the offseason champs of the NHL in 2019, but that's not an award that actually exists -- mainly because a good offseason doesn't always necessarily translate to a good season.
So far, it certainly hasn't translated for New Jersey.
The Devils have played just six games but they've lost all of them, making them the NHL's last winless team. And it's not just that the Devils have lost, it's how they've lost. We didn't know it at the time, but they sort of set the tone for themselves when they opened the season by blowing a four-goal lead against the Winnipeg Jets to lose in demoralizing fashion. Amazingly, things haven't really gotten much better since then.
Even with some of New Jersey's promising offseason acquisitions -- top overall pick Jack Hughes, former Norris Trophy winner PK Subban, KHL star Nikita Gusev, former All-Star MVP Wayne Simmonds, -- and the return of 2018 Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall, the Devils have been an unmitigated disaster to start the season.
They've got the league's worst goal differential (minus-16). They've gone 0-for-18 on the power play. They've gone 12-for-21 on the penalty kill (57.1 percent). They've got the league's second-worst collective save percentage. Jack Hughes doesn't have a single point and has largely looked unready.
Again, it's still very early and there are 76 games left for this team to turn it around but, at this rate, you have to wonder how long it might take -- and who might need to be taken out of the equation -- for that turnaround to come. Many projected the Devils to be a bubble team this season but they continue to dig themselves a deeper and deeper hole by leaving so many points on the table right out of the gate.
If things don't reverse course soon -- like, real soon -- it feels inevitable that John Hynes will be out of a job.
But other than that, things are going great!
Let's check in with New Jersey and the other 30 teams in this week's Power Rankings.
|The Canes finally lost a game (and to the Blue Jackets...yuck!) but their overall body of work is still so strong. They're for real so get used to it.||--||52-21-9|
|They're the only undefeated team left in hockey AND coming out on the right side of dumb offside reviews. They could be unstoppable.||2||51-24-7|
|Boston finished their brutal season-opening road trip 3-1-0 (lone loss to a very good Colorado team) then added two more wins at home. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have 24 combined points through six games.||--||65-12-5|
|They lost to Boston (whatever) and the Coyotes (bit more of a stinger) but Mark Stone is a freak and Marc-Andre Fleury looks extremely good.||2||51-22-9|
|They're 5-0-1 and looking real good to start the year. They're not giving up anything and Rasmus Dahlin should have the rest of the league a little frightened by now. Still, it's hard to fully buy-in on Buffalo knowing the wheels fell off after a hot start last year.||5||42-33-7|
|They gave up six goals to the Canadiens and then let a win slip away late against the Islanders. But, hey, at least they beat the Senators.||--||37-38-7|
|It took six games for them to lose one, but they're still not a great team when Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl aren't on the ice. James Neal already has more goals than he did with the Flames last year.||5||50-23-9|
|THEY LOST TO THE SENATORS!||1||46-30-6|
|They've snagged five out of six points to start the season and have looked good in the process. They're getting great goaltending and are strong on special teams. I swear I'm not lying.||10||31-38-13|
|They've yet to beat a good team. No soup for you.||5||50-21-11|
|I wasn't high on the Penguins to start the year and I still have my doubts, but hanging back-to-back sevens on the Wild and Jets with a depleted forward group? Not bad. Having Sidney Crosby helps, I guess.||5||40-31-11|
|On one hand, they haven't looked very good, especially at home. On the other hand, they've picked up at least one point in five of their seven games.||4||35-37-10|
|They're looking good offensively (hello, Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg) but giving up a bunch of goals and looking pretty bad in net. Wait, who are you and what have you done with the Nashville Predators?||4||42-32-8|
|They could use some help scoring goals. Maybe they can flip Milan Lucic (0 points) for a James Neal type.||3||38-27-17|
|Goaltending? Great! The rest of the team? I'm still not so sure, but at least they're not letting John Gibson get steamrolled into oblivion yet this year.||5||23-47-12|
|Patrick Marleau cried and it turns out his tears have magical healing powers or something, maybe.||10||22-44-16|
|Win. Loss. Win. Loss. Win. Loss. Identity crisis much?||4||31-45-6|
|After a rough start in Alberta, they absolutely throttled the Kings and beat a Flyers team that's looked pretty good. All aboard the Quinn Hughes is a STAR.||5||38-37-7|
|Kaapo Kakko scored his first NHL goal. New Yorkers are gonna love this guy once the Yankees get eliminated.||5||47-22-13|
|They've played six games and have scored more than two goals in regulation just once - against a very bad Jets defense. Seems like that might be a problem.||2||42-31-9|
|The defense remains a big concern but they won three in a row before getting wrecked by the Penguins. Special teams also need to shape up. Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele have been awesome, though.||1||46-33-3|
|Just thoroughly mediocre.||5||35-37-10|
|How bad would things have to get to make a person yearn for Columbus, OH over earning $10 million dollars a year in South Florida? The defense in front of Sergei Bobrovsky might give us an answer.||8||42-32-8|
|They beat the Golden Knights and took the Avalanche to OT, but they've scored two goals or fewer in three of their first four games. They're gonna waste some great goaltending if they can't get the offense going.||--||28-40-14|
|Rough start to the year for the defense but they had a very solid effort to shut down Edmonton and give the Oilers their first loss. Maybe a sign of better things to come?||--||26-49-7|
|Things are going so poorly that they got booed off the ice by their own fans and then proceeded to play even worse in the following game.||5||47-21-14|
|For better or for worse, they're entertaining. Worth tuning into every night just to see how bad Jonathan Quick might look. But the important thing is that it's all Taylor Swift's fault.||1||47-25-10|
|Made people lose a bunch of money when they beat the Hurricanes in Carolina. Pretty rude.||2||25-48-9|
|Ironic that a team coached by Mr. Clean would look like such a spectacular mess.||2||52-22-8|
|Finally won a game...against the Ottawa Senators.||1||46-25-11|
|Comfortable here yet?||--||39-35-8|