It was a busy time in Customs in the Pacific Northwest this past week for the New Jersey Devils as they embarked on a four-game road trip. A back-and-forth schedule saw them start their trip against the Vancouver Canucks, before making the short trek back over the border to face the Seattle Kraken. They followed it up with back-to-back games against Alberta’s finest, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. The trip was a success, as the Devils went 3-1, dropping the final game to the scorching-hot Oilers. Since our last stock up/stock down, the Devils have continued to climb up the standings, after a putrid month of November.

New Jersey Devils Stock Up/Stock Down

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Nico Hischier

Hischier featured on our last stock up/stock down, but there’s no reason to take him off after his performance on this road trip. He collected points in all four games, and five in total. More importantly, his elite defending and board play was all on display. He had a goal-saving block on the penalty kill against Vancouver, and Lindy Ruff praised him and his line for their play against Seattle. However, the highlight of the trip was undoubtedly his game against Calgary. More often than not Hischier was the first one into the zone and chasing pucks in deep. His hard work was rewarded with a gorgeous snipe to tie the game, and then a game-sealing empty netter. Since returning from his injury, Hischier has 10 points in eight games, and the Devils are 6-2.

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The Power Play

Up until this point, the Devil’s power play could’ve been stock up every week. However, it seems we’ve reached that point in the season when it has inevitably cooled down. That being said, the Devils power play still ranks first at 32.6%, but no longer has a 9% cushion at the top like it did a week ago. They went just 1-11 over the four games, and uncharacteristically let in a shorthanded goal to Calgary. From an eye-test point of view, opposing teams are pressuring the Devils, and Jack Hughes in particular, high in the zone. They look uncomfortable with having to make quick decisions and are forcing plays that aren’t there. Luckily the Devils have the advantage of pure talent on their side. A dip in production was always going to happen, but with all the skill they have their slump shouldn’t last too long.

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Goaltending

Who would have thought we’d see this? More often than not on this trip, the Devils got solid, to great goaltending. Against Vancouver, Vitek Vanecek made several key saves early on to keep the Devil’s lead intact. Unfortunately, he and the team crumbled late and blew the lead, but he still came out with the win. In his next appearance against Calgary, he made timely saves and came out with a positive Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx). As for Akira Schmid, his Seattle game was near flawless, while his Edmonton game had bright spots, but also a massive blunder. Against Seattle, he stopped 37 of 38 and had a GSAx of 2.32. Edmonton was different. On a positive, he stopped 26 of 29, with a lot of high-quality chances for Edmonton. However, horrible puck play and management led directly to Connor McDavid shooting at a vacant goal to make it a 3-0 game. If they continue to get these kinds of performances from the goalies, they will be in a much better spot going forward.

Stock Down

Timo Meier

It’s been an up-and-down season for Meier. After a slow start, he began to heat up in the absence of Hughes and Hischier. He finally found his game before going out with a lower-body injury and missing seven games. Since his return from injury, he has yet to record any points. Most eye-opening is over the four-game road trip he only put up seven shots. Meier is a volume shooter and always has been, and his lack of production isn’t surprising when looking at how little he’s shooting it. There is speculation that he may not be fully recovered from his lower-body injury, and that makes sense when watching him play. There has been a large lack of physicality in his game since his return, which is usually a major asset for him. On a positive note, he’ll be back on the top-line right-wing spot next to Jack Hughes for their next game.

Main Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.