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On Wednesday afternoon John Hynes and Ray Shero held their final media availability of the season.
While nothing earth shattering was said, there were some notable quotes I want to comment on.
Let's get to it.
It's no surprise Hynes wants Hischier to get stronger. Everyone knew that'd be the case. It's not at all a knock on Hischier. Filling out was always going to be a point of emphasis for the 19-year-old this summer.
It should help him get more torque on his shot. It should help him win more battles (the effort is always there but sometimes it takes more than that). It should also help him win more faceoffs. That's an overrated aspect of the game, in my opinion, but you still want your top guy winning more than 43% of his draws. There's a direct correlation between winning percentage and age – experience + being fully grown helps – so I'm not at all concerned with that.
I also like that Hynes made his wishes public. Now it holds Hischier accountable to meet them this summer.
• Hynes noted he wanted Will Butcher to improve his shot. In particular, he focused on Butcher's one-timer and ability to get shots through.
I'm 100% with Hynes on this one. Butcher is spoon fed offensive zone starts and quarterbacks the top power play. He's in the offensive zone a *ton*. Making himself more dangerous there seems like a good idea.
There's not much power in his shot, and he doesn't use it a ton, so there isn't much reason for the defense to respect him. That needs to change.
Butcher also struggled mightily at getting his shots through traffic, which may even be an understatement.
If Butcher can a) add more power to his shot and; b) do a better job of getting it through, he should have no problem putting up 40+ points again next season.
Provided the ask is reasonable, I can get on board with re-signing Patrick Maroon.
He has put up 40+ points in consecutive seasons and added some much needed secondary scoring to the Devils. He also fit like a glove on the power play. The Devils generated more PP shot attempts and chances/60 with Maroon on the ice than any other player. Obviously, the usual cast of characters on PP1 had very similar numbers once Maroon was acquired but that helps illustrate he made it better. His size causes a lot of havoc around the net and he's skilled enough to make plays when the puck came his way.
The new ownership group has deep pockets so that is not at all a surprise. I mean, they (rightly) thought their 76ers could take a step forward this year so they were willing to sign off on giving J.J. Redick(!) $23 million and making him the highest paid player on the roster.
If Shero goes to ownership with something he thinks will benefit the team, I have no doubt they'll pay up.
Shero is right to be cautious, though. Cap space is a hard thing to come by. Once you spend it, it's gone and getting it back can be miserable.
I expect him to be active this off-season, but he's not going to throw money at anyone who will take it.
New Jersey Devils 2017-18 season awards
Setting the table for the off-season