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angryjay93

New Jersey Devils

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New Jersey Devils

Team Overview: If the Devils were removed from the game, I don’t think many people would notice. If there is a more non-descript team in the game, I’d like to know because no one receives less fan fare than the Devils. Aside from puck pounding center Stephane Richer, the Devils have plenty of average players that aren’t particularly noteworthy or fun to use.

Forwards: While somewhat effective, the Devils forward group is rather ho-hum. Aside from Richer’s shot power, no other forward possesses an elite skill. In fact, all Devils forwards are flawed, and they don’t necessarily offset each others weaknesses very well.

From Russia with Love:

Zelepukin-Richer-Semak

Valeri Zelepukin: 6 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/3 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

Zelepukin is a steady complimentary forward and he is allowed to play to that role on the Devils. Zelepukin is the only light weight player on the roster who has plus skating and thusly he will be carrying the puck up the ice the majority of the time. While a solid playmaker, Zelepukin isn’t a dangerous enough scorer or skater to really take the Devils offense to the next level. Score goals he must though as Richer doesn’t score consistently enough to carry the Devils to victory. Zelepukin is also the main defensive force here being the strongest skater and lightest option on the line. A lot is being asked of Valeri, he needs to deliver.

Stephane Richer: 9 weight, 4/4 skating, 5/3 shot, 4 sth, 3 pas, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

It is likely that Richer will help the Devils as much as he will hurt them. This is essentially the commentary on building a line for the Devils, it’s about trying to use players who won’t kill the team. It’s tough to call Richer a sniper, since he doesn’t do a good job at sniping; he still remains interesting to watch as his thunderous one-timers are unpredictable. Richer isn’t great going one on one or at moving the puck, but he does have enough speed to take advantage of a lazy defense and can make some easy feeds to the open winger if need be. Richer gives you what you’d expect from a slug, bad defense that will induce many headaches.

Alexander Semak: 6 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/4 aware, Shoots: R

A steady playmaker, Semak can do some damage on offense if given time and space to operate in. Often times though, in a fast paced game, Semak becomes a forgotten man as his lack of speed can hinder his ability to affect a game positively. If puck possession can be established, Semak becomes a surprisingly opportunistic goal scorer as he is a more skilled finisher than his shooting ratings would suggest. Hopefully, Semak has more good games than bad games in AI mode because his awareness in both zones can help offset his lack of skating, if not it’ll be a long game for Semak despite his light weight and playmaking skills.

This line won’t be confused among the elite, but it has its strengths. The wings are both light and skilled with the puck, they should be able to feed Richer often enough to give the Devils a chance to keep up. The question though is how often can the wings score and cover for Richer on defense, if that question goes unanswered, this line suffers.

The Suckbags:

Zelepukin-Semak-Nicholls

Bernie Nicholls: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/2 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

Nicholls provides a similar game to Semak, just with less scoring ability. The lack of skating and shooting can provide cause for concern, but by playing on his forehand side, he can use his passing and dekeing skills to full effect here and attempt to create some space in the offensive zone for the rest of the line. Nicholls is by no means a special player, but he should be able to compliment this line adequately enough to warrant starting him.

This line is pretty slow, but it is light and skilled. Puck possession is key here as well as precision passing. The offense is limited to anything from inside the face off circles; penetration into the offensive zone is going to be crucial as the lack of shot power doesn’t allow the Devils to stretch the offense. Defensively, Richer won’t be a liability anymore, but Semak and Nicholls lack of speed could become one against Vancouver and Dallas type teams.

Other Options: These guys might get lucky to be a 5th or 6th forward in a GDL league as they are more heavily flawed then the previously mentioned players.

Peter Stastny: 9 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L

A bit too slow and heavy to be a starter, Stastny can fill in on the right wing and provide some playmaking skills if one of the starting wingers get hurt. A spot start might not be out of the question either, but there are simply too many teams that can take advantage of Stastny for him to be a good player in the league.

Bobby Holik: 10 weight, 3/4 skating, 3/3 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

A standard option on the right, Holik brings a little extra speed at the cost of a whole lot of weight. Still, if the forward ranks get thinned out during a game, he can come in and be a more effective player than most of the other guys on the roster.

Claude Lemieux: 11 weight, 4/4 skating, 4/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

Despite being a default starter, Lemieux doesn’t have a whole lot of business doing so. Extremely heavy for a forward, Lemieux will easily be taken advantage of no matter the match-up. Combine that with average passing and an inaccurate shot, Claude becomes a last resort option off the bench at center.

John MacLean: 9 weight, 3/3 skating, 4/3 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: R

Ed Olcyzk without the passing, MacLean might be a more reasonable center option than Lemieux as his shot is better and he might be a little easier to handle despite the downgraded skating statistics. Ideally though, MacLean nor Lemieux ever have to touch the ice.

Forwards: 5/10

Defense: If you were hoping for something different from the forwards, you will be disappointed as the defense is also populated by a decently skilled light weight and crippling heavy players that don’t have enough skill to be very useful.

Driver-Stevens

Bruce Driver: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L

Driver falls into a group of standard light weight defenseman such as Alexei Gusarov, Mark Howe, Todd Gill, and Norm MacIver. Driver much like Zelepukin though must play over his head in order to guide the Devils to success as he is being asked to do more than he ought to be expected of. Excelling as a stay at home defenseman, Driver can assert himself physically or via the poke check if need be. He can struggle against Selanne, Mogilny, and Bure, but there aren’t too many defensemen adept at handling them one on one to begin with. Not a gifted goal scorer by any means, Driver is still capable of driving a play into the attacking zone, making a move and dishing the puck off often enough to chip in his fair share of assists over the long haul. It’s wise to not get over aggressive with Driver though as his partners aren’t usually able to handle a counter attack on their own.

Scott Stevens: 11 weight, 4/4 skating, 4/2 shot, 4 sth & pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L

A glorious checker and crease stuffer in AI mode, Stevens really takes a turn for the worse when under user control. Thanks to his massive weight, Stevens in open ice is reduced to holding and poke checking which puts him at a distinct disadvantage, especially if he’s scrambling around. Stevens does have some good mobility and offensive skills, but his weight disadvantage makes him a borderline #2 defenseman in the best case scenario. Be careful handling the puck in the defensive zone with Stevens, he is a constant target out there and if he gets crushed, the best AI defender is now lost.

A classic pairing in that couples a skilled heavyweight with an average lightweight; this pairing is going to have its share of ups and downs no matter what. Limiting mistakes and making effective passes though should cut down on how far the downs go.

Driver-Niedermayer

Scott Niedermayer: 9 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

Despite being a heavyweight, Niedermayer possesses all the minimum attributes to be a legitimate option on the blue line. Deciding between Stevens and Niedermayer is really a matter of preference though as there are clear trade offs to be made here. Niedermayer isn’t going to do anything spectacular; he’s going to be even blander than Driver.

This pairing should help smooth out the highs and lows that can be experienced with the previous pairing. But a lack of speed on both sides of the ice leaves it prone to breakaways and counter attacks. Without a whole lot of help from the forwards, this defense could get lit up.

Other Options: The Devils we’re a rather bruising team, they certainly had some big bodies back there, but that doesn’t bode well for NHL ’94.

Alexei Kasatonov: 11 weight, 4/3 skating, 4/1 shot, 4 sth & pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L

Despite being on a better team than in Anaheim, Kasatonov still isn’t adequately supported here to help cover up his weaknesses. Kasatonov can be a suitable sub for Stevens as he brings a similar set of skills although slightly downgraded and sans the aggressive AI mode.

Slava Fetisov: 11 weight, 4/2 skating, 4/1 shot, 4 sth & pass, 2/4 aware, Shoots: L

Another skilled super heavyweight, Fetisov is really tough to ice because he is painfully slow and his lack of acceleration only further exacerbates the problem. He can do the job as a 4th defenseman in the GDL, but decisions must be made quickly when the puck is on his stick.

Defense: 4.5/10

Goalie Zone: Fortunately, the Devils aren’t devastated by awful goaltending, but they don’t get the superior goaltending they would need to be a competitive team.

Chris Terreri: 2 weight, 4/4 skating, 4/4 aware, 3 puck control, 3/3/3/3 save, Catches: L

A great manual keeper, Terreri is more than capable of eating up a lot of space in his crease in a short amount of time. But he can give out some juicy rebounds as his save and puck control ratings are nothing to write home about. Also, beware of the ram tactic; Terreri can be easily abused by big, aggressive forwards.

Goalies: 6/10

Bottom Line: There isn’t a whole lot that can be done to spice up the Devils, they are possibly the most vanilla team in the league and that is reflected by the fact that they are almost never selected in Gens classic league or exhibition games for that matter. Puck possession and a grinding game is where the Devils thrive most, not the most glamorous style for sure.

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weight fail team, much?! stupid Genesis.

anyway, "Richer isn’t great going on one or at moving the puck," needs some work to become an intelligible phrase. "nor" is the first thing, but "going on one" what, exactly?

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weight fail team, much?! stupid Genesis.

anyway, "Richer isn’t great going on one or at moving the puck," needs some work to become an intelligible phrase. "nor" is the first thing, but "going on one" what, exactly?

Sorry about that, I cleaned it up and it should make sense now.

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ah. "one on one." makes more sense. still should be "nor," though. this team is much better with the real weight factor. still easy to ignore, though.

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Never ceases to amaze me that some people actually like this team. I have a friend that loves them as probably his 2nd team. Ridiculous.

Zelepukin is the star, but would just be a good "squad player" for thee top teams. The other forwards a horribly difficult to get regular goals from.

You have to go with Stevens at the back if you have any intention at all of being an attacking team - He's the one that'll get a few plays started regularly. I guess it's just a case of getting the balance right to help him out when the Devils don't have the puck.

Strictly a team for people that love a dirty, bruising, unattractive style of play. To use a "soccer analogy" if Detroit are the Arsenal of NHL '94, NJ are the Stoke City!................really hope at least 1 or 2 people get that!

................Why oh why would anyone want to play with this team?!

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P.S. Usually love reading these, but was bitterly disappointed at the lack of "Die Hard" puns in John MacLean's assessment!

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I never thought they were a bad team, always played well with them.

Edited by Snyder

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HABS is the true master when it comes to using Terreri. I almost feel tempted to pry him off in the draft if that's possible and he's got him in pretty good numbers in pretty much every season he's had him. Magnum 44 is still a threat on the offense, though it's a little hard to know which line is best to mix it up against the other teams. I'd normally keep Driver and Stevens and have Captain Crunch stay on the right in case I need his slapshot.

Not much else I can say about the team, though I use them every now and then. It's a whole nother story in the SNES version, though.

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this team is much better with the real weight factor. still easy to ignore, though.

Yeah, ive never used or played against jersey in the snes version, but looking at them on paper id suspect they play similar to Pittsburgh.

Holik-/Stastny-Richer-Lemieux

Stevens-Kasatonov

That's a lot of beef out there, beef that can skate. The puck skills are lacking, but there shouldn't be too much issue in being able to drive to the net and getting some scoring chances on the doorstep.

Zelepukin could probably be afforded to be started as well since there is a lot of toughness to offset his worthless checking.

In gens though, this team still has its hurdles to climb in the weight bug fix due to a lack of speed and sniping ability. The game plan remains the same though, grind the other team into the ground, scratch out a few goals, put everybody to sleep.

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In gens though, this team still has its hurdles to climb in the weight bug fix due to a lack of speed and sniping ability. The game plan remains the same though, grind the other team into the ground, scratch out a few goals, put everybody to sleep.

that's basically what the devils have done in recent times the TRAPON bore everyone to sleep with it

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Yeah, ive never used or played against jersey in the snes version, but looking at them on paper id suspect they play similar to Pittsburgh.

Holik-/Stastny-Richer-Lemieux

Stevens-Kasatonov

That's a lot of beef out there, beef that can skate. The puck skills are lacking, but there shouldn't be too much issue in being able to drive to the net and getting some scoring chances on the doorstep.

Zelepukin could probably be afforded to be started as well since there is a lot of toughness to offset his worthless checking.

In gens though, this team still has its hurdles to climb in the weight bug fix due to a lack of speed and sniping ability. The game plan remains the same though, grind the other team into the ground, scratch out a few goals, put everybody to sleep.

If you have no issues with this, I actually have a different option that just may increase the Devils' chances of winning games.

Richer-Semak-Zelepukin

Driver-Stevens

I know what you're thinking: Semak doesn't have a big a boomstick like Richer! What gives, Iceguy? This is where it gets interesting; with Semak on center and Zelepukin on his natural side in right wing, the weight problem won't be as troublesome as some of the other options and Magnum 44 will be able to unleash some BOOM HEADSHOT from the left more easily, since the defense won't be as focused on stopping him as before. Semak has some decent awareness and though he doesn't have a powerful shot, it's not a total waste thanks to his accuracy and becomes a viable one-timer option. Zelepukin will be able to cut and slash from the right side and help serve up goals to either Semak or Richer and with some playmaking ability, you'll be able to do some slam dunks that will bewilder opponents.

The d-men should stay exactly as their are. Driver will help with the damage control and on some faceoffs or breakaways, Stevens can try to make a shot on goal. Do so if you're feeling lucky or psychic. With this line-up, winning stops being mission impossible, but you still need some good skills to be consistent.

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Since I pretty much use the Devils exclusively, I'll chime in.

I use Richer-Semak-Zelepukin up front with Stevens and Niedermayer on the back. Because I think, as a real life Devils fan, we're all supposed to hate Bruce Driver and I don't remember why anymore.

However, since I've pretty much been playing alone for years, I tend to use line changes and whatnot, which I break down as

Richer-Semak-MacLean

Lemieux-Nicholls-Zelepukin

McKay-Stastny-Holik

Stevens-Niedermayer

Fetisov-Kasatonov

Driver-Daneyko

You just need to play the Devils like they played in real life, tight defensively with big hits and attack mostly on turnovers.

Although it's pretty apparent I'm more of a "set it up like I actually would've" as opposed to the "higher ranking means 1st line" approach. Although Stastny was more of a scorer in his day than a 3rd liner and I really wish we had Peluso so I could relive the Crash Line from back in the day.

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CB Notes

Forwards

Valeri Zelepukin: New Jersey is pretty light on offensively threatening players which allows the crafty Zelepukin to maintain his starting spot. Zelepukin also brings a bit of weight bug presence on a team mostly bereft of it, his defense will remain a valuable commodity.

Stephane Richer: Richer remains the resident shooter and main goal scoring threat as his 5 shot power gives him a wide array of ways to score the puck. Hopefully Richer's new found CB checking powers can help him get some more chances while up close and personal with the goalie. His shooting power makes it tough to switch over into manual goalie in time to make the quick reflex saves.

Alexander Semak: A role reduction may seem in place for Semak as his play making ways seem a little redundant now. Semak is a little slow and not enough of a weight bug checker to be a pure defensive specialist meanwhile he will have issues getting to the net as he has evolved into a bit of a CB target. None of the rest of the Devils forwards are overwhelmingly better so Semak should still get his fair share of ice despite his shortcomings.

Bernie Nicholls: Taking a bigger hit then Semak, Nicholls becomes mediocre depth fodder as his lack of skating and skills leaves him as a purely perimeter type player. His defensive game isn't robust enough to offset his lack of offensive effectiveness.

Peter Stastny: What we have here is essentially the CB version of Semak. Stastny isn't as great as a fit on the RW due to him being on his off wing and the lack of speed makes it a bit tougher for him to crash the net for rebounds. With Stevens being the likely RD, it makes things on the right side of the ice awfully heavy if Stastny gets some run. It may be best to flip Zelepukin to the RW and Stasnty to the LW if he is indeed thrown into the fray.

Bobby Holik: If you have to go CB upfront then Holik is likely the best bet because he can play his natural wing while leaving Zelepukin and Richer unaffected. A lack of elusiveness and puck skills could make those near post dekes awfully predictable to savvy manual goalie users.

Claude Lemieux: Only useful if the Devils decide to sell out and play a total crash bang type of a game, Lemieux is an absolute CB bruiser up front with a set of hands best left unmentioned. He isn't likely to have his hands on the puck long anyways as he is an easy target for the defense to pick off.

John MacLean: A center only option, MacLean getting ice time is likely an omen to rough seas ahead. He won't be helpless as he does have a little CB utility and sniping ability but it's gonna take some serious game play to get worthwhile production from him.

Defense

Bruce Driver: While a little light in the skill department, Driver should remain an important part of the Devil's D due to his light weight and heady play. Every other defender on the roster is on the very heavy side, Driver should help maintain checking balance and won't cost too much in the way of skill while doing so.

Scott Stevens: Forwards ought to keep their heads up as some booming Stevens checks will be felt around the league. Blessed with plenty of skating ability at his 11 weight, Stevens should light up unsuspecting forwards and then be able to move the puck up ice quickly with his fine passing abilities. More of a defensive specialist, try not to get too carried away with CB checks while using Stevens as he is plenty able to use his poke check and skating to be plenty effective as a shadow on another teams top forward. Don't go crazy on offense with him, he will still be a breeze to take down while handling the biscuit.

Scott Niedermayer: The time is no longer now for Niedermayer as he takes a good tumble down the depth chart. He shouldn't be starting over Driver due to having a similar skill set in a much heavier package nor should he be starting over Kasatonov or Stevens as they are better CB options with vastly superior skills. Leave him on the end of the bench in case emergencies pop up.

Alexei Kasatonov: Another boffo puck mover, Kasatonov is an intriguing option to bring off the bench as he has plenty of CB ability to go along with his offensive abilities.

New D-Pair:

Kasatonov-Stevens

With Driver being a bit ho-hum, icing a total CB monster duo such as this may be somewhat appealing. There is a complete lack of balance here and moving the puck may be a bit of a tricky affair against very aggressive fore checkers. On the plus side, this mobile duo can possibly reign some terror on teams that don't possess a bunch of elite skaters. Even a team like Winnipeg could struggle against this duo if they are on top of their game.

Slava Fetisov: A lack of speed is the only thing that hinders Fetisov as he has all the other qualifications to be a CB beast of a defender. Definitely worth a look if his speed can somehow be overcome.

Bottom Line

Much like a litany of other teams, the Devils reap the CB benefits with an upgraded defensive unit. Stevens and Kasatonov should make things tough on opposing forwards as they are both mobile and skilled enough to assert themselves strongly on the outcome of a game. Driver remains relevant and there is enough of a balance of CB and weight bug checking ability in the front line to keep opponents guessing.

Offensively, the Devils don't change much as they are still a pretty predictable team with only Richer's shot power capable of varying their scoring tactics. Wins will still be accumulated by attempting to put the opponent asleep as the Devils have only become better at what they already did best.

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