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Oilers442

New Jersey Devils

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New Jersey Devils

AJ previously put it best for GENS; the New Jersey Devils are easily the most unheralded team among NHL 94 users. This is most certainly true on the SNES as the Devils do not appear to receive a whole lot of use by the majority of coaches. Aside from Scott Stevens, the Devils lack a true superstar player; especially among all forwards. However, the Devils are a team that possesses a unique balance of abilities and skill sets among various players that can make line choices very interesting and variable depending on user preferences or opponent traits.

Forwards

Zelepukin-Semak-Richer

This is probably the most balanced and fastest line that New Jersey can ice. Valeri Zelepukin is a lightweight (188 lbs.) but athletic skater (65 Agi and Spd) who gets the nod as a starter due his ability to dash and deke rather effectively against most defenses. At a 55/55 shot, Zelepukin is not a huge slapshot or one timer threat; though he is not unfamiliar with cashing in on a large majority of his chances on some occasions. Icing Alexander Semak at center ultimately comes down to preference. Players who heavily utilize the one timer and prefer accuracy will find that Semak is the man for the job at center due to his 55/65 shot being the best on the team in terms of consistency. Semak also notably has above average defensive awareness (65) which can help in terms of covering the middle of the ice. Even at a mere 188 lbs., it is not uncommon to see Semak lay out the puck carrier at center ice and/or create turnovers that change the flow of the game positively for the Devils. Stephane Richer is the “enigma” of the New Jersey Devils. At 212 lbs. and with 65/65 skating, Richer is the prototypical power forward that can withstand punishment to slash through defenses, put in some dekes, and throw down checks on the opposition. At 85 shot power, Richer possesses a loaded cannon that does not cash in way too often at times due to a mere 55 accuracy but is still effective enough to make him a long-distance shooting threat that must be respected.

Attack of the heavyweights:

Stastny-Semak-Richer

Peter Statsny replaces Zelepukin in this instance due to added weight (212 lbs. instead of 188). Stastny’s lower athleticism (65 Agi, 55 Spd) is compensated for with a better shot (55/65) than Zelepukin. Thus, this line is as effective a one timing threat as it is a tool against some of the heavier teams in the league. In some instances, users may even wish to swap Stastny in at center and put Semak on the Left Wing in the event that the opposing team utilizes a heavy center that may be able to physically dominate Semak throughout the course of a game. This is certainly a viable option due to both players possessing the exact same shot ratings.

Defense

Fetisov-Stevens

A heavy defensive pairing with arguably the best pure hitter in the game in Scott Stevens. This is definitely the pairing to use for New Jersey in all situations. On the SNES, Scott Stevens becomes one of the most dangerous defensive d-men in the game with 85 checking and 228 lb. weight to go along with 65 defensive awareness. Quite simply, if Stevens comes into even slight contact with an opposing player, a body will be sent flying or down to the ice…and it won’t be Stevens in most cases. Stevens also happens to be a great offensive defenseman due to good skating ratings (65 Agi and Spd). With his weight, he can absorb almost any hit and take as much time as needed before passing off to another player or simply wheel and deal and attempt to burst through a defense to put away a deke of his own. Stevens simply has no weakness and the thought of removing him from the Devils lineup should not be entertained.

Interestingly, the Devils have another extremely physical d-man in Viacheslav Fetisov who is just as capable at playing a strong defensive-minded game either by turnover or physical force. With Fetisov also coming in at 228 lbs. and possessing a strong 65 checking in his own right, his physicality matches right up with Stevens. Fetisov will be able to take down most players with relative ease and withstand almost any punishment brought his way. The difference between Fetisov and Stevens becomes apparent from an offensive standpoint. Fetisov possesses the same Agility as Stevens but only has 45 Speed. Thus, Slava will be less effective at rushing the puck out of the defensive zone. Erring on the side of caution despite a heavy weight, it is wise to make a strong, well-executed breakout pass with Slava rather than to use him to lug the puck into the offensive zone.

In analyzing New Jersey’s defensive bench options, Bruce Driver and Scott Niedermayer are really the only options that come even remotely close to the standards set forth by Stevens and Fetisov. Both bench players possess a very similar skill set with average skating and checking ratings. The differences are found in weight (Driver: 196 lbs., Nieder: 212 lbs.) and defensive awareness (Driver: 65, Nieder: 55). These ratings suggest that Driver is a more ideal option for a calculated and positioning-based defensive style, while Niedermayer projects to be a more physical, checking option. In the end, neither player is very effective as an offensive defenseman nor as a purely defensive defenseman in comparison to Stevens and Fetisov. It is not suggested to start Driver or Niedermayer in place of Fetisov and rarely should either one ever be brought in as a substitution in the event of an off game. When an injury situation occurs, choose wisely based on awareness and weight preferences when considering which bench defenseman to use.

Summary

New Jersey has everything it takes to be one of the better teams on the SNES; physical starting defensemen who can contribute some offense and a skilled group of interchangeable forwards who can provide plenty of offensive skill. With New Jersey, a coach can be flexible with a number of offensive styles to play. With Semak and Richer (and possibly Statsny), the team has enough shot effectiveness to utilize the one timer effectively, while Richer and Zelepukin can provide a constant deking threat that can keep the opposing team off balance. New Jersey is also a defense-first coach’s dream due to the ability of Semak, Stevens, and Fetisov to collectively take away the puck, lay down devastating checks on the opposition, and prevent scoring chances. Ultimately, New Jersey is at its most effective when playing a defensive-minded system that thrives on limiting high percentage scoring chances, creating turnovers, and spreading the puck around to each player and letting everyone have an equal chance at scoring.

Edited by Oilers442
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I could never get a handle with using the devs, but I've seen snesboy and FPB play quite well with this team.

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Great writeup! You've almost convinced me to try the Devils in Classic League sometime. I've always thought they were underrated.

GREAT defense, and a decent group of forwards that could take some getting used to.

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No mention of Claude Lemieux anywhere? I really like him at center. He's a 228 pounder with 65 speed, agility and offensive awareness! Pretty darn good.

His shot is 65 power and 45 accuracy. Obviously he will miss the net the odd time, but the shot power is there, and with his size, speed and offensive awareness, he should have no trouble getting to areas where he can score.

Also, with Claude at center and Stevens/Fetisov on D, this team becomes one of the most intimidating teams defensively (along with Boston, Pittsburgh, LA, Washington).

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Only decent and true line combination is:

Lemieux-Richer-Holik

From : the only guy who took NJ to anything decent

Jokes aside it's actually a decent team. Them and EDM are seriously under rated and way better than the trash some people pick (like TOR or CGY)

Edited by The Russian Rocket

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seriously... forgetting to -- or choosing not to -- mention Lemieux is really strange. he's not perfect, but nobody on that team is really much better.

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