The New Jersey Devils are a professional ice hockey team based in Newark, New Jersey. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The club was founded in 1974 originally as the Kansas City Scouts, in Kansas City, Missouri. The club has had a few relocations in their history, with the Scouts moving to Denver, Colorado in 1976 and became the Colorado Rockies. In 1982, they moved to East Rutherford, New Jersey, the home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets and became the New Jersey Devils.
The franchise was mediocre before and briefly during their stay in New Jersey. As the New Jersey Devils, the team failed to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first five years in New Jersey and never finished higher than fifth in their division. The hiring of president and general manager Lou Lamoriello was seen as a turning point for the franchise as they immediately became relevant and missed the playoffs just three times between 1988 and 2012.
The Best Era, Players, and Coaches of the New Jersey Devils
Between 1988-2012, the New Jersey Devils three Stanley Cups, their first in the 1994-95 season, when they defeated the Detroit Red Wings and their second in the 1999-00 season when they took down the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Dallas Stars.
The Devils reached consecutive Stanley Cup Finals thanks to a return in 2000-01, although they came up just short of hoisting the most famous trophy in sports thanks to a determined Colorado Avalanche squad featuring Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy and Ray Bourque. The Devils then won their third Stanley Cup in 2002-03 by defeating the Anaheim Ducks, making it their second Stanley Cup victory in three years.
The Devils have a rivalry with their Hudson-River neighbor, the New York Rangers and are one of three NHL teams in the New York metropolitan, with the other being the New York Islanders. The Devils have the peculiar honor of actually being the only professional sports team to claim New Jersey as their home in the title of their name; all other teams either play in New Jersey and say they represent New York, or they once represented New Jersey in their name, but have since moved and change their name (i.e. the New Jersey Nets moving and transforming into the Brooklyn Nets).
They were mightily competitive in the years gone forward and made it to their fifth Stanley Cup Finals in 2011-2012 where they faced the Los Angeles Kings, before losing in six games. They missed the playoffs the following season after the departure of team captain Zach Parise, who signed with the Minnesota Wild.
Current Struggling Era of the New Jersey Devils
The club was suffering financially before they were bought by the current managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Joshua Harris. The Devils then had a period of struggle, missing the playoffs four consecutive seasons before securing the first overall selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, selecting center Nico Hischier.
Hisckier, along with Taylor Hall, propelled the Devils back into the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. The Devils were dispatched by the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games, but Hall won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the League MVP. During the season he set the franchise record for consecutive games while registering a point, finally seeing his point streak snapped at 26 games while demolishing the previous record of 16.
Hall, unfortunately, was sidelined with a knee injury in 2017-2018, missing nearly 50 games as the Devils suffered through a disappointing season and failed to return to the playoffs. However, they received the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft for the second time in three years and selected Jack Hughes first overall.
The Devils have retired five numbers in franchise history, including Patrik Elias’, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Devils and is the all-time franchise leader in points, goals, and assists. Ken Daneyko also played all 20 years of his career with the Devils, winning all three of their Stanley Cup championships with the team.